Commercialization of Smallholder Agriculture
Shumba, Enos M.
Whingwiri, Ephrem E.
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Smallholder commercialization has been a long drawn out process in both the colonial and post-colonial period. Colonial rule in 1890 saw the emergence of the large-scale commercial farming sector, consisting of white settlers alongside a subsistence smallholder fanning sector composed of blacks. The white large-scale commercial fanning sector received unqualified government political and policy support to raise agricultural production and productivity, largely at the expense of the smallholder farming sector. This scenario persisted until the attainment of independence in 1980. The agricultural thrust of the majority rule government was to increase productivity in the smallholder sector while maintaining production on large-scale commercial farms. In this regard, the government focused on empowering smallholder farmers through research and extension, establishing marketing depots in communal areas, and providing favorable pricing policies to increase agricultural production. This policy thrust contributed to the agricultural revolution of the 1980s and 1990s. Smallholder farmers have transformed themselves from subsistence to commercial producers of a number of key agricultural enterprises over the last 20 years