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Rural development and poverty reduction: is agriculture still the key?







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    Agriculture and Poverty Reduction. Is agriculture still the key to rural development? 2007
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    This paper examines the relationship between rurality and poverty, and the role the agricultural sector can play in rural development, poverty reduction, and overall development. The historical views regarding the role of the primary sector in development are presented, and then using original data, the paper argues that there was an historical misjudgment against the primary sector that served as a foundation for anti-agricultural bias in public policy until the late 80’s. Finally, this paper explains how under certain conditions territorial/regional development strategies may prosper, but in other conditions, particularly in the least-developed countries rural space, agriculture is still necessarily the starting point for rural development.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Food insecurity, poverty and agriculture: A concept paper 2002
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    This paper argues for a twin-track approach to hunger and poverty reduction that combines measures to promote rural development through growth in agriculture and rural off-farm activities with measures to provide direct and immediate access to food for the most needy. The paper begins with an exposition of the concepts of food insecurity and poverty and shows that the majority of the hungry and poor in developing countries still live in rural areas. It then documents the substantial economic costs of hunger to show that direct action against hunger can itself contribute to poverty reduction. It goes on to argue that if the income from agricultural growth is spent locally and promotes growth in rural off-farm activities, this can have a strong impact on the incomes of the poor. Evidence is presented to substantiate this argument. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the twin-track approach for anti poverty strategies.
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    Meeting
    Beyond Agriculture?: The Promise of the Rural Economy for Growth and Poverty Reduction. Workshop Synthesis
    Rome, Italy, 16-18 January 2006
    2006
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    The workshop entitled “Beyond Agriculture?: The Promise of the Rural Economy for Growth and Poverty Reduction” was held at the FAO headquarters in Rome from the 16th to the 18th of January. In organizing the workshop, FAO was seeking to raise awareness on how recent trends and changes such as globalization shape the context in which rural economies operate and what are the implications for policies to reduce rural poverty. More than 70% of the poor live in rural areas where the agriculture sector plays a fundamental role. In this context, the purpose of the workshop was to gain a better understanding of how the current rural development paradigm is evolving, what are the drivers of these changes, what can make rural development strategies more effective and which role FAO could most strategically play in the effort of efficient and effective rural development. The meeting’s objective were fivefold: (1) understand how changes in “drivers” (such as globalisation and changes in fo od systems) may cause a shift in the prevailing Rural Development paradigm, and what may the regional characteristics of such a paradigm be; (2) raise awareness on a poverty reduction/rural development strategy and the role of agriculture in such a strategy; (3) examine rural household strategies for getting out of poverty; (4) produce guidelines or a checklist of issues to be considered in guiding rural development policy; and (5) learn how the paradigm shift translates into analysis and policy directions primarily for FAO. The workshop combined a number of background papers and studies, some of a more general and theoretical level and some with a more regional or country focus. This format allowed firstly to set the scene of the specific topic and subsequently to delve into more specific facets of the specific issue under investigation. The workshop lasted two days and a half and set off with an opening plenary session and was concluded by a closing round-table discussion. The workshop was divided into seven sessions, each of which contained the presentation of one background paper and two study papers then followed by the comments of a discussant. At the end of each session the floor was opened to a broader discussion with the participation of all present. The first session set the scene of the workshop with an overview of definitions and current trends aiming at investigating the evolution of rural development policy and the paradigm shift. The second session discussed transformations in agriculture and the impacts on rural development. The third session focused on gaining a better understanding of rural non-farm generating activities: whether the latter are refuge/survival strategies or a pathway out of poverty. The fourth session aimed at gaining a better understanding of the reasons and effects of migration in an agricultural context and whether migration out of rural areas is promoting or hampering rural development. Session 5 addressed the issue of government spending and the impact of government spending for public goods vis-à-vis the productive sectors of the rural economies. Session six analyzed the variation in institutional frameworks in the context of rural development and the paradigm shift. Session 7 provided an overview of how multilateral banks are promoting their rural development strategies and what changes are being promoted

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