This report from NEF’s food programme for Oxfam examines current interest in the proposition that enhancing the productivity of family farms is the most effective way to reduce rural poverty in the developing world.

This proposition – that we term the prod-pov consensus – is examined from a number of angles including agro-ecological and socio-economic diversity, the re-structuring of the agri-food system, agricultural research, rising fertiliser prices, climate change, and the assumption that young people will be content to live in rural areas and construct their livelihoods around agriculture.

Our conclusion is that while increasing the productivity of family farms in Africa can play an important role, poverty reduction on a mass scale, particularly in Africa, will require a more comprehensive and integrated approach.