Limitation of State Activities as Entrepreneur

Here, the target of agrarian reform is the state and his activities as a landlord/entrepreneur. Especially - not only - in Africa the state or parastatal organizations have engaged themselves in the management of plantations, state farms or ranches, usually at a large scale. Invariably, these enterprises are well equipped with input and machinery. The state or its organizations also control the overall means of production and thus regulate the conditions of peasant production (what to produce, what input to use, grading systems etc.). The state induces the peasants to engage in commercial production and even in export crop production not for the peasants' benefit, but for its own interest. Through monopolistic marketing authorities, it completely determines peasants' share of the proceeds.

In this context, it is important to note that mostly an urban elite is in control of the state whose interests are very different from those of the rural masses.

Certainly, the state, especially at early stages of development, has certain economic tasks. It must organize a quick increase of production, and it needs to raise taxes for various investment purposes. The administratively easiest way to higher production may be via state farms and export taxes can be levied through marketing boards. But easily the state follows the path of private capitalists and thus does not act as a promotor but rather as an exploiter of the peasantry. The state has several goals. Development of the powerless peasantry is not the only one and invariably not the most important one. In some countries, the state with its activities in agriculture is badly hindering peasant agricultural development. Even more so, as there are no institutions to represent peasants' interests against the state.