The WDR 2008: What it has to say about agriculture

The key issue of how agriculture can best be harnessed for development is dealt with by posing three questions:

(1) What can agriculture contribute toward development?

(2) What instruments have proven themselves in using agriculture for  development?

(3) How can 'agriculture for development' agendas be implemented?

(1) The relative drop in poverty is due solely to the reduction in rural poverty. Growth stimulated by agriculture leads to greater than proportional increases in income among the lower income groups. Growth in agriculture is transferred to other sectors via forward and backward linkages.

(2) Important areas for action for this are: improved access to land, strengthening the competitiveness of smallholder farming, opening up new sources of income, and migration.

(3) Measures aimed at improving market access, smallholder competitiveness, livelihoods through subsistence agriculture and employment opportunities in rural labour markets are of varying relative importance in the country types (I) agriculture-based countries , (II) transforming countries and (III) urbanised countries.

Professor Dr. Winfried von Urff
Bad Zwesten, Germany