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Abstract

The relative importance of small versus large farm enterprises in driving agricultural production growth and poverty reduction is a central development debate in Africa. More broadly this debate revolves around questions of farm land intensification versus extensification as the most effective means for addressing the persistent issues of food insecurity and hunger in Africa. On the one hand, there is a well‐established literature that argues that the intensification of smallholder production is the most effective way of initiating sweeping beneficial changes in predominantly agrarian societies. One the other hand, there is a growing belief that massive constraints in African smallholder production and marketing systems make it improbable for very small farms to be engines of agricultural‐led capital accumulation, land consolation, farm expansion, and significant production gains. For them a strategy that seeks to stimulate large‐scale agriculture can more effective address the constraints to African food production.

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