An article in the Harvard International Review by Paul Collier paints a stark view of African peasantry. Collier presents a convincing argument that for African agriculture to become more productive, it needs modern agricultural technologies and new modes of organization
(Thanks to Eric Ward for alerting me to this article).
“The poverty of African peasants is not accidental: it is intrinsic to the peasant mode of economic organization. The very features that make the peasant mode of production appear attractive to jaded members of an industrialized society also make it unproductive. Large scale organization of specialized production, and integration into markets, are fundamental to the generation of income at a level that we now regard as necessary for a decent quality of life. We have been blinded to this evident fact by our own romantic attachment to the preservation of a society which is the antithesis of the modern.”