The report reviews available research on the links between agriculture and the rest of the economy, with a focus on structural adjustment and the role of agriculture in economic growth and poverty reduction. Furthermore, the report discusses the links between agricultural production, nutrition and food security. The report discusses constraints on agricultural growth, both external constraints, such as roads and other infrastructure, institutional constraints that may reflect market failures, and more immediate constraints such as lack of modern seeds, fertilizers and irrigation. At all levels underlying market failures are identified, and relevant policy interventions are discussed. The report concludes that agricultural policies should be integrated with general policies for development in remote areas. Government and donor-supported safety nets may help in reducing the risks facing poor farmers, and thus allow them to invest in potentially more productive techniques. Such safety nets may target other sectors, with the health sector being potentially the most important one, since own labor is the main source of income for poor people. Emergency aid, or other social protection systems, will also provide villagers with the necessary safety nets. Beyond insurance and basic income support, there is a need to invest in roads, infrastructure, basic education, and training in improved agricultural techniques, including localized soil management systems. Training should be linked to localized research and extension services, including model farmers at the village level.

 

Magnus Hatlebakk

Senior Researcher; Coordinator: Poverty Dynamics

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