Family farming in sub-Saharan Africa: its contribution to agriculture, food security and rural development
This paper (PDF) by the International Policy Centre for inclusive growth (IPC) elaborates on the strategic role of family farms to accelerate agricultural transformation towards achieving food security and nutrition, as well as sustainable and inclusive rural development. Considering that 75% of the SSA population is involved directly or indirectly in farming and related employment, the strategic role of family farms in such a transformation is increasingly being recognized by key actors. However, there is less agreement on the nature of and prospects for family farms in SSA, the scope of their contributions to agriculture, food security and rural development, and the measures required to address their most critical challenges. This paper finds that family farms are pervasive in the economic life of the largely agrarian SSA region, and shape the social organisation and play a key role in social protection. The authors argue that the scramble for control over agricultural land in SSA threatens the reproduction of family farming, without offering alternate sources of employment, income and food for poor household. The authors argue that the capabilities and markets that serve family farms, need to be enhanced to transform agricultural productivity towards reducing food insecurity and malnutrition, limiting costly food imports and enhancing social protection in the context of sustainable rural development. Realizing this goal requires inclusive policymaking processes that recognize the role of women and young people in agriculture, and build the organisational capabilities of small-scale family farms. There appears to be some ambivalence over focusing on promoting family farms versus the potential role of corporate farming.