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Urbanization and farm size in Asia and Africa: Implications for food security and agricultural research

Masters, William A., Djurfeldt, Agnes Andersson, De Haan, Cornelis, Hazell, Peter, Jayne, Thomas, Jirström, Magnus, Reardon, Thomas
Global food security 2013 v.2 no.3 pp. 156-165
Elaeis guineensis, agricultural research, commercialization, crops, farm size, farms, food security, hinterland, livestock, sugars, tea, urbanization, Africa, Asia
Urbanization and economic development have made global agriculture increasingly differentiated. Many hinterland farms remain largely self-sufficient, while farms closer to markets become increasingly specialized and linked to agribusinesses. Both semi-subsistence and commercialized farms remain family operations, with the few successful investor-owned farms found mainly for livestock and crops processed on site such as sugar, tea and oil palm. Meanwhile, demographic transition drives rapid change in farm sizes, with less land available per family until non-farm opportunities expand enough to absorb all new workers. Asia as a whole has now passed this turning point so its average farm sizes can rise, while in Africa average farm sizes will continue to fall for many years, posing special challenges in both hinterland and commercialized areas.