According to the Daily Maverick, there is a justifiable claim that modern and efficient farming should comprise a sector in which just 5% of a country’s population supplies food for its citizens as well as for export. On this basis, African governments are therefore interested in attracting private investment in agriculture in order to create thousands of jobs, even if they are at the minimum wage.
However, in the African context, where 60-70% of the population earn their living from traditional farming and hold a significant portion of the land, there is no option but to develop small farmers at the same time. Preference should thus be given to rural development in order to transform the traditional African village into an alternative means to a prosperous life.
Experience shows that in villages where smallholding farming is accepted, it is possible to establish profitable modern agriculture based on irrigation and mechanisation, around which the following changes occur:
Migration to the cities ceases, with those migrants already in the cities not hesitating to return. Farmers become active in the market, dramatically increasing the demand for basic products in isolated areas. Farmers are able to improve their living standards and lifestyles through their own monetary resources, without recourse to government aid. The need for subsidies is reduced, leaving only water as the means of production in need of subsidisation along with the provision of assistance in marketing services, credit, training, disaster and other insurance, as is done for agriculture in most countries. The amount of food produced increases, with enough to supply the local market, and thereafter, exports to neighbouring cities and countries.
Job creation is expensive, and job creation within a short period of time even more so. It is thus readily apparent that the only way open today for African leaders to deliver jobs quickly to those who lack education is through training in modern agriculture, which, while perhaps more difficult with people lacking in education, can nevertheless achieve results.
The modern farmer produces more than enough food for his immediate environment, and earns enough to be able to import food that he cannot grow. It is evident that the advancement of sustainable modern farming brings food security with it by default.
Even if such a process takes years, those who are part of it still feel positive change and an ongoing improvement in their living standards.
Source: <a href=”https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-10-02-op-ed-the-answer-to-africas-agrarian-needs-lies-in-keeping-it-rural/#.WdItjWiCyM8″>Daily Maverick</a>