Tuesday, February 5, 2013

End of Smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa?

I have enjoyed trying to use Mozilla's Popcorn Maker for the digital story telling assignment. I do not detect many agriculture teachers within the etMOOC audience, but perhaps there might be a reader or two for whom my personal appeal to not abandon the small farmers of sub-Saharan Africa might resonate. Larger farming most certainly will be the ultimate way to provide food and cash crops in the most productive manner. For the most part all countries that have modernized have seen the dwindling of their farming populations. But the danger is that the rate at which the small farmers possibly might be eliminated could far exceed the ability of sub-Saharan African economies to provide alternative employment. In my personal situation, our family farm sustained a livelihood for several decades, although it was increasingly clear that we were becoming less viable. By the time I moved away from the home farm, the U.S. economy provided my father and me alternative employment. This is not the case in sub-Saharan Africa. Some amount of disruption is inevitable, but the pace and scale requires careful thought on the part of local policymakers and the international donor community.

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