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Principal Challenges Confronting Smallholder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Jayne, T.S.
  • Mather, David
  • Mghenyi, Elliot

Abstract

Summary This paper uses small-scale farm survey data from five countries of eastern and southern Africa to highlight four under-appreciated issues: (i) how land distribution patterns constrain the potential of crop technology and input intensification to enable many small farms to escape from poverty; (ii) why most smallholders are unable to produce more than a marginal surplus or participate meaningfully in commodity markets; (iii) why most farmers are directly hurt by higher grain prices; and (iv) why the marketed agricultural surplus is exceedingly concentrated among a small group of relatively large smallholders. Policy and public investment options are reviewed in the light of these findings. There is no one future for small farms in Africa: much depends on government policy and investment decisions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
Pages: 1384-1398

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:38:y:2010:i:10:p:1384-1398

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

Related research

Keywords: small farms eastern and southern Africa land policy;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mutoko, Morgan C. & Hein, Lars & Bartholomeus, Harm, 2014. "Integrated analysis of land use changes and their impacts on agrarian livelihoods in the western highlands of Kenya," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 1-12.
  2. Sitko, Nicholas J. & Jayne, T.S., 2014. "Exploitative Briefcase Businessmen, Parasites, and Other Myths and Legends: Assembly Traders and the Performance of Maize Markets in Eastern and Southern Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 56-67.
  3. Holden, Stein, 2013. "Amazing maize in Malawi: Input subsidies, factor productivity and land use intensification," CLTS Working Papers 4/13, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
  4. Jane, Harrigan, 2011. "Food Security in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and sub-Saharan Africa: A Comparative Analysis," CEI Working Paper Series 2011-5, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  5. Harris, David & Orr, Alastair, 2014. "Is rainfed agriculture really a pathway from poverty?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 84-96.
  6. Fischer, Elisabeth & Qaim, Matin, 2012. "Linking Smallholders to Markets: Determinants and Impacts of Farmer Collective Action in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1255-1268.

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