The modernization and commercialization of
There are those who favor large-scale farming – by national and foreign entrepreneurs – using capital-intensive modern technologies of machines, irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides and high-yielding or drought resistant seeds. They reason that smallholder farmers are less efficient and less productive to meet domestic and external demands.
However, findings from countries that have used high tech farming methods for a while have flashed warning signals. During an international conference in
It was recommended that farmers switch to more sustainable and productive systems including conservation agriculture which minimize plowing and tillage and promote permanent soil cover and diversified crops rotation and ensure optimal soil health and agricultural productivity.
In 2007 organic agriculture was discussed at an international conference in
The second school of thought shared by the author favors smallholder farmers which are efficient and productive contrary to popular belief. The system is also labor-intensive and appropriate in a society where the bulk of the population has no skills outside agriculture. Many studies have confirmed the efficiency and productivity of smallholder farmers of which some examples are summarized below.
Regarding land use, J. P. Gittinger (1987) has written that in many developing countries smallholder farmers use land more efficiently than the larger farmers although policy makers often see large farmers as more desirable. In her article entitled ‘Hunger, Social Equality, and Food Sovereignty’, Kathleen Mcafee has dismissed the illusion that small and medium-scale farmers are less productive and less efficient.
In May 2008, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) organized a meeting on the role of smallholder farmers in addressing the global food crisis. Speakers including those from the government of
There was a unanimous call to increase investment in agriculture as the most efficient means to alleviate poverty and improve food security. It was stressed that smallholder and women farmers should be targeted pointing out that they are more efficient and produce a large quantity of crops.
The participant from
The participant from the
The participant from the World Bank reported that recent research has demonstrated that for the majority of crops, smallholder farmers are more efficient producers.
And at the end of an international conference in
These findings have reiterated that smallholder farmers are more efficient and more productive than large-scale farmers. With adequate support