|Title||The Rising Class of Emergent Farmers: An Effective Model for Achieving Agricultural Growth and Poverty Reduction in Africa?|
Seemingly contrary to the expectations of those who see little future in smallholder agriculture,
Zambia has witnessed over the last 10 years a massive increase in the number of so-called emergent farmers. These are farmers that cultivate between 5 and 20 hectares of land, making them distinct, in terms of overall production and income, from the majority of smallholders, of whom 70% cultivate only two hectares of land or less. If this growth is being driven by a process of capital accumulation, area expansion, and farm consolidation among the small-scale farmers, then Zambia has achieved a truly remarkable improvement in smallholder-led agricultural growth. This article explores the factors driving the growth of the emergent farm sector in Zambia in an effort to identify the policies that contributed to this growth and to evaluate whether or not this strategy offers an effective way to address issues of poverty and hunger in Africa. Data for this article comes from both nationally representative surveys on smallholder agriculture in Zambia as well as a structured survey conducted with 183 emergent farmers in four districts in Zambia. Over the last decade Zambia has witnessed both a significant increase in agricultural production, driven primary by an expansion in area under-cultivation, favorable weather conditions, and an impressive expansion of relatively larger, indigenous Zambian farmers. Yet, poverty rates over the same period have remained virtually unchanged. This suggests that while Zambia’s agricultural development strategy has been relatively successful at providing a public spending and legislative environment in which emergent farmers can flourish, it has failed to provide a viable pathway out of poverty for the nation’s millions of very small-scale farmers.
|»||Zambia - Living Conditions Monitoring Survey IV 2004|
|»||Zambia - Living Conditions Monitoring Survey VI 2010|