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Agriculture & Rural Development

Emmanuel Ayomide Praise

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Agriculture is essential to reducing poverty, with a 34 percent share of GDP in low income countries. Three out of every four poor people in developing countries live in rural areas and 2.1 billion survive on less than $2 a day. Over 80 percent of the rural poor depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Rural-urban income disparities are widening in rapidly growing countries – in East Asia the ratio of rural to urban poverty increased from about 2 to more than 3.5 between 1993 and 2002.

Livestock is one of the fastest growing subsectors of agriculture in developing countries. Production of meat has doubled over the last 15 years, led by a 7 percent annual increase in poultry. Vegetable production has grown by 7 percent annually over the past 15 years.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing agriculture sector. Global production has increased 9 percent per year since 1970 and the growth rate is as high as 25 percent annually in Brazil over the last 5 years.

Demand for food is expected to double by the year 2030, in addition to feed and bioenergy demand. Agriculture must increase its efficiency to meet that demand on less land and with less water. Furthermore, to reduce the stress on the environment, environmental services and innovative measures must be considered for long term sustainability.

Agriculture Investments Stabilize at around $2 billion, but a Significant Increase in Africa

World Bank investments in agriculture are stable at around $2 billion for FY06. This year marked a notable lending increase in the Africa region, with investments rising from $295 million in FY05 to $685 million in FY06. The increase represents the highest level of lending in agriculture since FY90 for Sub-Saharan Africa.


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