Farm size has become an issue on the minds of the many Africans as a solution for the low productivity levels of farms and possibly food security. They often debate, in order to alleviate poverty and ensure food security, farmers ought to increase their farm sizes.
Does farm size really matter?
I think the argument has not gotten to that point yet. There are a couple of fundamental issues we need to tackle as a continent first.
What are the issues?
- Costs of production are already high due to high costs of inputs. These inputs could be soil enhancements inputs, mechanical inputs etc. In this case, I am referring to inputs for sustainable agriculture.
- Farmers can no more use their farmlands because they are fast becoming infertile, due to the use of unsustainable agricultural technologies like slash and burn.
We must address these basic issues (i would say) to ensure higher productivity on the existing farm sizes before we can consider expansion.
Positive and direct interventions like subsidies will help reduce the cost of inputs. This will ultimately help reduce the cost of production.
However, to ensure sustainable production, inputs that promote sustainable agriculture must be encouraged. In that case, farmers would be sure to have and very productive farm areas for a prolonged period.
The promotion and education of farmers on sustainable agricultural practices are also key. Especially during these climate changes, it is the best practice to ensure continuous food supply even by the smallholder farmers.
Now, your thoughts…..?