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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.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5553.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5553
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