When is large scale actually small scale?

There is a lot of chatter around China about the need to scale up the farming. It seems that the government is determined to move forward with reforms. I hear from one farmer that next year only 50Mu will be acceptable in their district (approximately 10 times bigger than the family farms now), and if he can’t amalgamate with his neighbours he will have to forfeit his land to someone else (in return for a rent). A spokesman for the government has also stated that farms should become 10-15 times bigger.

But is 50 Mu a scale-up, or actually a backward step? 50 Mu is only 8 acres or just over 3 ha. It will need bigger equipment than the family uses on its 5 mu lot, but is not by any measure an efficient economy-of-scale. Yields could go down not up, as crop management will not be as well timed as before.

The government should develop a structure where good farmers can procure the land from the less able farmers in return for remuneration, and grow the farm size that way. Not force artificial changes in farm scale.