Friday, 28 December 2012

A four-pronged approach that addresses three types of farms and their complementarities is proposed.

1. Small scale subsistence farmers are chronically poor and risk-averse smallholders and wage labourers. They mainly produce for their own subsistence. Policies should help move them to higher-risk/higher-return activities through insurance programmes, input subsidies and improved regulations to protect wage labourers.

2. Small investor farmers have better access to assets, are less restricted by their production environment and produce for the market as well as for their own consumption. Policies should facilitate these farmers to engage more in high value agriculture through the expansion of local and regional markets; they should empower farmers’ organizations, provide training in new technologies and improve access to finance.

3. Large scale farmers have access to assets, are situated in a favourable production environment and produce mainly for the market. Policies should ensure that the wealth created by these farms is widely shared. This means ensuring that investors’ proposals are consistent with local visions, that local land rights, particularly those of women, are secured, that land suitable for these farms is mapped together with local actors, that land acquisitions are transparent, that local governments can tax this land, that human rights are respected during land acquisition and that labour standards and sensible environmental safeguards are in place.

4. Policies should moreover build on the complementarities between large and small scale farms through for example inclusive out-grower schemes.

“The key question is whether large and small farms can build on complementarities instead of one displacing the other.” This is a good starting point for further debate, as well as for building new practical experience in inclusive agricultural development.
by Hadi Laghair 

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