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Principal Challenges Confronting Smallholder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

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

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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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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