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Impact of “Radical Shift” in African Agriculture Felt Worldwide

AAEA member research examines cause and effect of farming surge

There is a major movement underway in one part of the world that is having a global impact on agriculture.

The number of “medium-scale” farms in Africa has skyrocketed since the turn of the century, something that has resulted in what one expert calls a “radical shift in agriculture in Africa.”

In “Africa’s Changing Farm Size Distribution Patterns: The Rise of Medium-Scale Farms,” Thomas Jayne of Michigan State University and his co-authors examine not only how these farms are changing agriculture in Africa, but how the increase is having an impact on the ag industry worldwide.

“As global food prices rose,” Jayne said, “both big companies and local people invested in Africa’s farmland.” The rise of medium-scale farms in Africa has opened up lots of new opportunities for international agribusiness and jobs in the food system.”

Dr. Jayne, who is also a Distinguished Fellow of the African Association of Agricultural Economists, says he expects the effects of this expansion to be profound, but also warns there is a potential “dark side” to this rise in larger African farms if it limits access to land. However the study argues there are innovative strategies for avoiding this scenario.

To learn more about this groundbreaking research, and to set up an interview with Dr. Jayne, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit

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