Work on agricultural growth and chronic poverty is part of a wider project on economic growth and chronic poverty, background work for the second Chronic Poverty Report, due out in 2008. Key findings are that agriculture is critical for most of the 400 million chronic poor, but many of them participate as casual agricultural labourers: far more policy attention is therefore needed to the effective functioning of labour markets in agriculture.
Agricultural growth is also important as a buffer against impoverishment, and provides opportunities in many situations for exits from poverty, sometimes combined with enhanced access to critical assets. Agricultural growth is especially important in economies with low levels of overall growth, and where there are few other sources of security. Starting the process is not difficult in most situations using ‘green revolution’ approaches supported by public expenditure on infrastructure, education and information; what is difficult is to stop it cutting out. The work will be published on www.chronicpoverty.org.
Principal Research Fellow, Director CPAN project