Africa’s changing farm size distribution patterns: the rise of medium-scale farms

This study assesses changes over the past decade in the farm size distributions of Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Among all farms below 100 hectares in size, the share of land on small-scale holdings under five hectares has declined except in Kenya.

Medium-scale farms (defined here as farm holdings between five and 100 hectares) account for a rising share of total farmland, especially in the 10 to 100 hectare range where the number of these farms is growing especially rapidly.

Medium-scale farms control roughly 20% of total farmland in Kenya, 32% in Ghana, 39% in Tanzania, and over 50% in Zambia. The rapid rise of medium-scale holdings in most cases reflects increased interest in land by urban-based professionals or influential rural people.

About half of these farmers obtained their land later in life, financed by non-farm income. The rise of medium-scale farms is affecting the region in diverse ways that are difficult to generalize. Many such farms are a source of dynamism, technical change and commercialization of African agriculture.

Read more in the full publication.