Agriculture for development (World Bank)

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World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development
http://topics.developmentgateway.org/aideffectiveness/rc/ItemDetail.do?itemId=1092962

World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development

The theme of the World Bank’s World Development Report (WDR) 2008 is Agriculture for Development. A reconsideration of agriculture’s role in development has been long overdue. Developing country agriculture is caught up in the far-reaching changes brought by globalization, the advent of highly sophisticated and integrated supply chains, innovation in information technology and biosciences, and broad institutional changes—especially in the role of the state and in modes of governance and organization.
Contributed by Carmen V. Caballero on 06 Mar , 2007

Full text

Growth in agriculture makes a disproportionately positive contribution to reducing poverty. More than half of the population in developing countries lives in rural areas, where poverty is most extreme. By illuminating the links between agriculture, economic growth, and poverty reduction, this report offers a timely and nuanced assessment of how and where agriculture can best foster development.
François Bourguignon, Sr. Vice President, Chief Economist, The World Bank

For some countries, these changes have heralded renewed opportunities and benefits for agriculture. For other countries, the consequences have been quite different and food insecurity and poverty remain pervasive. Yet nearly every nation continues to face difficult decisions with respect to agriculture. Although agriculture is a private sector activity, it is uniquely dependent on good governance, wise public investments, and carefully focused public policy. An important question examined in this report is how to determine when public policy should concentrate on capturing the new growth opportunities available to agriculture and when it should concentrate on capturing opportunities in other sectors of the economy to help people exit agriculture. This report seeks to assess where, when, and how agriculture can be an effective instrument for economic development, especially development that favors the poor. It is likely to focus on strategies for:

* Unlocking agricultural growth to reduce poverty
* Seizing new opportunities for agricultural growth
* Enhancing the pro-poor character of agricultural growth
* Facilitating favorable exits from agriculture
* Achieving environmentally sustainable agricultural growth

MY COMMENT

I underscored the following sentences:

* Growth in agriculture makes a disproportionately positive contribution to reducing poverty.

* Yet nearly every nation continues to face difficult decisions with respect to agriculture.

* It is likely to focus on strategies for:

* Unlocking agricultural growth to reduce poverty
* Seizing new opportunities for agricultural growth
* Enhancing the pro-poor character of agricultural growth
* Facilitating favorable exits from agriculture
* Achieving environmentally sustainable agricultural growth.

Let us welcome this World Bank report very heartedly and hope it will strongly convince the developed and developing worlds to invest more in agriculture in the drylands and seize every opportunity for agricultural growth. No need to say that I am thinking in particular at investing in cost-effective technologies for soil conditioning, efficient use of irrigation water and fertilizers. Success stories in these fields can easily be applied at very large scale to alleviate poverty in the shortest time. For a positive look at such possibilities, please check former postings on this blog.

 
 

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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