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Agricultural Employment Trends in Asia and Africa: Too Fast or Too Slow?

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  • Derek Headey
  • Dirk Bezemer
  • Peter B. Hazell

Abstract

Contrary to conventional economic theories, the relationship between income growth and agricultural employment is extremely diverse, even among regions starting from similar levels of development, such as Asia and Africa. Due to its labor-intensive Green Revolution and strong farm--nonfarm linkages, Asia's development path is mostly characterized by fast growth with relatively slow agricultural exits. In contrast to Asia, urban biased policies, low rural population density, and high rates of population growth have led a number of African countries down a path of slow economic growth with surprisingly rapid agricultural exits. Despite this divergence both continents now face daunting employment problems. Asia appears to be increasingly vulnerable to rising inequality, slower job creation, and shrinking farm sizes, suggesting that Asian governments need to refocus on integrating smallholders and lagging regions into increasingly commercialized rural and urban economies. Africa, in contrast, has yet to achieve its own Green Revolution, which would still be a highly effective tool for job creation and poverty reduction. However, the diversity of its endowments and its tighter budget constraints mean that agricultural development strategies in Africa need to be highly context specific, financially sustainable, and more evidence-based. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 25 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 57-89

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:25:y:2010:i:1:p:57-89

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Cited by:
  1. World Bank, 2013. "Pakistan : Finding the Path to Job-Enhancing Growth," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15979, The World Bank.
  2. Headey, Derek & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum & You, Liangzhi, 2012. "Enhancing resilience in the Horn of Africa: An exploration into alternative investment options," ESSP working papers 48, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Rijkers, Bob & Costa, Rita, 2012. "Gender and Rural Non-Farm Entrepreneurship," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(12), pages 2411-2426.
  4. Kolavalli, Shashi & Robinson, Elizabeth J. Z. & Diao, Xinshen & Alpuerto, Vida & Folledo, Renato & Slavova, Mira & Ngeleza, Guyslain K. & Asante, Felix Ankomah, 2012. "Economic transformation in Ghana: Where will the path lead?," IFPRI discussion papers 1161, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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