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Agriculture and development : a brief review of the literature


  • Dethier, Jean-Jacques
  • Effenberger, Alexandra


After 20 years of neglect by international donors, agriculture is now again in the headlines because higher food prices are increasing food insecurity and poverty. In the coming years it will be essential to increase food productivity and production in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and with smallholders. This however requires finding viable solutions to a number of complex technical, institutional and policy issues including land markets, research on seeds and inputs; agricultural extension; credit; rural infrastructure; storage; connection to markets; rural nonfarm employment and food price stabilization. This paper reviews what the economic literature has to say on these topics. It discusses in turn the role played by agriculture in the development process and the interactions between agriculture and other economic sectors; the determinants of the Green Revolution and discuss the foundations of agricultural growth; issues of income diversification by farmers; approaches to rural development; and finally issues of international trade policy and food security which are at the root of the crisis in agricultural commodity volatility in the past few years.

Suggested Citation

  • Dethier, Jean-Jacques & Effenberger, Alexandra, 2011. "Agriculture and development : a brief review of the literature," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5553, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5553

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Food Price Index, 1970 - 2010
      by UDADISI in UDADISI on 2012-09-24 03:53:00


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    9. Larson,Donald F. & Muraoka,Rie & Otsuka,Keijiro, 2016. "On the central role of small farms in African rural development strategies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7710, The World Bank.
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    15. Raza, Syed Ali & Ali, Yasir & Mehboob, Farhan, 2012. "Role of agriculture in economic growth of Pakistan," MPRA Paper 32273, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2012.
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    18. Andersson, Martin & Rohne Till, Emelie, 2017. "Between the Engine and the Fifth Wheel: An Analytical Survey of the Shifting Roles of Agriculture in Development Theory," Lund Papers in Economic History 163, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
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    20. N'Dede Hourizene, Cynthia B. & Wilson, Norbert, 2016. "Contributing to Economic and Social Development in Sub-Saharan Africa through Value-Added Agriculture," 2017 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2017, Mobile, Alabama 252792, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
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    22. Okoboi, Godfrey & Barungi, Mildred, 2012. "Constraints to Fertiliser Use in Uganda: Insights from Uganda Census of Agriculture 2008/9," Research Series 150240, Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC).

    More about this item


    Rural Poverty Reduction; Regional Economic Development; Agricultural Research; Rural Development Knowledge&Information Systems;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • E64 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Incomes Policy; Price Policy

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