Agricultural growth, poverty alleviation, and environmental sustainability: having it all
Many developing countries have achieved impressive growth rates in agriculture in recent decades....[but] hunger and malnutrition persist in many countries, often because past patterns of agricultural growth were insufficient or failed to adequately benefit the poor. These patterns have sometimes harmed the environment and exacerbated poverty and food insecurity among rural people, even as agriculture has met national food needs and contributed to export earnings. But poverty and environmental degradation are not an inevitable outcome of agricultural growth. Rather, these negative effects reflect inappropriate economic incentives for managing modern inputs in intensive farming systems, insufficient investment in many heavily populated backward areas, inadequate social and poverty concerns, and political systems that are often biased against rural people. With appropriate government policies and investments, institutional development, and agricultural research, there is no reason why agricultural development cannot simultaneously contribute to growth, poverty alleviation, and environmental sustainability.
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