Over a decade the number of medium-scale African-owned farms has been rapidly growing, with the majority of them run by urban-based professionals, influential rural people, and successful smallholder farmers.
Within the same period, the amount of agricultural produce gathered by the farms has substantially increased. In certain countries, like Tanzania and Zambia, the produce by medium-scale farms amounts to about 40 per cent of the state output.
Medium-scale farmers also bring new sources of capital and expertise to African agriculture. They have contributed to African governments’ consolidations to back up agriculture.
There are some reasons for the recent growth showed by the African middle-scale farms.
Firstly, rapid population growth, urbanisation and rising incomes have contributed to massive demand for food in African countries.
Secondly, many Africans with due resources found farming to be a lucrative investment opportunity – especially during the sustained period of high global food prices since the mid-2000s.
Thirdly, policy reforms in the 1990s removed major barriers to private trade and improved the environment for private investment in African agri-food systems.
The consequences of such changes manifested themselves after the world food prices suddenly skyrocketed. They enabled thousands of small, medium and large-scale private firms to rapidly respond to profitable incentives.