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Something of a Paradox: The Curious Neglect of Agriculture in Development

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Abstract

This paper argues that investment in agriculture has a large and continuing developmental importance in terms of both economic growth and poverty reduction. Moreover, targeted public resources have proven to be indispensable in achieving these results. Both arguments are supported with novel analyses which update and strengthen the traditional case for agriculture-led development with public-sector involvement. But despite the strong case for agriculture-led development strategies, the authors find that over the last three decades the financial resources allocated towards this sector have strongly declined. It is suggested that a shift towards new development paradigms since 1980 might be a significant explanation for this apparent Agricultural Paradox. This conjecture is tested with data on market reform impacts, PRSP contents and analyses of the intellectual resources devoted to the study of agriculture in development by both practitioners and researchers. The authors conclude with a critical discussion of these disturbing trends.

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  • Derek D. Headey & Dirk Bezemer, 2006. "Something of a Paradox: The Curious Neglect of Agriculture in Development," CEPA Working Papers Series WP012006, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:qld:uqcepa:20
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    File URL: http://www.uq.edu.au/economics/cepa/docs/WP/WP012006.pdf
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    1. Derek D. Headey & D.S. Prasada Rao & Mohammad Alauddin, 2005. "Explaining Agricultural Productivity Levels and Growth: An International Perspective," CEPA Working Papers Series WP022005, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    2. Adelman, Irma & Morris, Cynthia Taft, 1997. "Editorial: Development history and its implications for development theory," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 831-840, June.
    3. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
    4. Dorward, Andrew & Kydd, Jonathan & Morrison, Jamie & Urey, Ian, 2004. "A Policy Agenda for Pro-Poor Agricultural Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 73-89, January.
    5. Tim Coelli & Shannon Walding, 2005. "Performance Measurement in the Australian Water Supply Industry," CEPA Working Papers Series WP012005, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    6. repec:mes:challe:v:33:y:1990:i:4:p:57-59 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Goksel Armagan & Altug Ozden & Selim Bekcioglu, 2010. "Efficiency and total factor productivity of crop production at NUTS1 level in Turkey: Malmquist index approach," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 573-581, April.

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