Many observers have conceptualised the link between rural poverty and environment as a 'downward spiral' with population growth and economic marginalisation leading to environmental degradation. Recent micro-scale empirical research challenges this model, showing striking heterogeneity in environmental management by the rural poor, their success in adapting to environmental change and the efficacy of policies in influencing outcomes. Local endowments, conditions affecting the adoption of resource-conserving technologies and local institutions supportive of the poor are key factors that condition poverty-environment interactions and outcomes in relation to agriculture. The main strategies to jointly address poverty and environmental improvement are to increase poor people's access to natural resources, enhance the productivity of poor people's natural resource assets and involve local people in resolving public natural resource management concerns. Research is needed to support these strategies, particularly to explore poverty-environment-agriculture interactions, develop technologies for poor farmers and partner with local communities for action research on policies and programmes. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
In recent years there has been a growing debate about ethical aspects of production and trade. This has evolved from concerns about fair trade, safe working conditions for producers and employees and sustainable and environmentally safe natural resource management. The principles of organic agriculture are wide ranging and include concerns for safe food production, for the environment, for animal welfare and for issues for social justice. A working definition of ethical trading, and an assessment of the links between organic production and ethical trading were obtained from 34 organisations in the UK involved in ethical or fair trading or organic agriculture. Interviewees were from major supermarkets, independent and multiple retailers, alternative trading organisations, importers, wholesalers, accreditation bodies, non-governmental development agencies and lobby groups. A definition of ethical trading based on the interviewees' responses is developed and discussed. The paper examines current practice in ethical and organic trading and assesses the role of the Ethical Trading Initiative and major supermarkets. Current and potential links between organic production and ethical trade are explored. Constraints to linking the two concepts more fully, both conceptual and practical, are evaluated. There is potential for organic production to be ethical, using the holistic definition given here, by the addition of social criteria to the standards of the organic regulatory authorities. Ethical trading is now becoming mainstream trading and internationally traded organic produce will therefore have to comply with the current view of what is ethical.
While rural poverty in Latin America has declined over the last three decades, success has been uneven across countries and rural poverty remains huge. Reduction in the number of rural relative to urban poor has been mainly the outcome of migration, not of successful rural development. We show that rural incomes are explained by the asset position of households and the characteristics of the context where assets are used. Given heterogeneity in asset positions and contexts, many strategies to escape poverty consequently exist. We identify four paths out of poverty: exit, agricultural, pluriactive, and assistance. Successful rural development to promote the agricultural and pluriactive paths requires a wholesale new approach based on regional development, decentralization and participation. Agricultural technology has a role to play in these two strategies. In Latin America, however, the bulk of the benefits from technological change has been captured through indirect effects via the price of food, employment creation and contributions to aggregate growth. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
This paper shows that improved technology and rural infrastructure have made important contributions to agricultural growth and poverty reduction in India. However, these effects have varied widely across agro-ecological zones. In the past, the government has devoted more resources to irrigated areas, and this has led to significant production growth and poverty reduction in those areas. However, as investments in irrigated areas continue to increase, their marginal returns diminish, and it is now in many of the rainfed areas, including some of lower agricultural potential, where the marginal returns from additional government investments in technology and infrastructure are largest. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
Many of the developing world's poorest farmers and food insecure people are highly dependent on root and tuber crops as a contributing, if not the principal, source of food, nutrition, and cash income. Hence, an improved understanding of the production, utilization, trade, and estimated future economic importance of these crops has potentially far-reaching implications for investments in agricultural research at both the international and, perhaps even more importantly, national levels. Previous projections for the evolution of global supply, demand, and trade into the 21st century, however, have focused on grains, oilseeds, and livestock. This paper presents global projections of supply, demand, and trade for root and tuber crops to the year 2020. According to the baseline scenario, roots and tubers will decline in relative economic importance only marginally vis-a-vis the other major food and feed crops over the next three decades. According to an alternative, high demand and production growth scenario, the economic importance of roots and tubers versus the same commodities will increase slightly. The results of this scenario contrast with earlier projections that predicted a decline in importance for roots and tubers. Policymakers should take cognizance of and act on the growth prospects for these crops. In the past, root and tuber crops have often been overlooked in policy deliberations precisely because their potential was considered more limited than actual growth rates clearly indicate, or that current projections foresee. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Rather than asking how to cope with hunger and famine, the question might be how to escape their threat altogether. Important in this regard is recognizing that agriculture and the rural economy are greatly influenced by policies and outcomes in the rest of the economy. Strategies include economic growth with unchanging income distribution, and growth with redistribution. The latter encourages balanced growth to create non-farm employment opportunities, while investing in rural infrastructure. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
The paper reviews and summarizes evidence of impacts of crop improvement research of major food crops in Africa. It provides evidence of increased availability of improved varieties of major food crops to farmers in Africa, increased food production in regions where adoption has occurred, and positive returns to research investment, indicating that agricultural research in Africa has had productivity increasing impacts on its agriculture. However, research impacts vary considerably across countries and regions within a country as a result of agroclimatic factors and policy environment, which affects the supply of seeds and other inputs, and the continuity and stability of research investments. The paper points to a number of important issues, both internal and external to the agricultural research system organization that need to be addressed if agricultural research is to provide a stimulus for modernizing African agriculture. Given the small size of food crop production area in many African countries, it is important for research systems to take full advantage of research spill-ins from regional and international research organizations. There is a great potential to increase the efficiency of research systems by improving the coordination among members of national research systems and continuing improvements in collaborations between NARSs and regional and international organizations. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Among policy makers, researchers and micro-finance practitioners alike, there is much discussion on the role of micro-finance for alleviation of poverty. This paper focuses on the linkages between access to credit, savings and insurance services and household food security. What is the role of micro-finance in the overall mix of policy instruments? What types of financial services are demanded by the poor, and which are offered by micro-finance institutions (MFIs)? Hence, which are the gaps in financial products? We present a conceptual framework that addresses these questions, and provide a synthesis of the empirical results of a multi-country research program in ten African and Asian countries. We conclude that insurance can be considered as the missing third of micro-finance during the 1990s, and that the MFI's outreach to the poor can be improved by offering savings, credit and insurance products that enhance the poor's ability to bear risks. Applied research on the poor's preferences as well as bold experimentation with new financial products appear to be particularly promising in making progress towards that goal. Since insurance services are difficult to be offered except for easily observable idiosyncratic risks, precautionary savings services can be a valuable insurance substitute in particular for the poorest. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
This paper provides a brief overview of research priority setting methods at various levels in national research systems, noting the changing emphasis from supply- to demand-driven approaches at both macro- and micro-levels of priority setting. The scope for incorporating a poverty dimension into priority setting is then reviewed within a general framework that recognises the complexity of the link between research investments and poverty alleviation. The effectiveness of this targeting is likely to be very situation specific. A case study of macro priority setting in Pakistan shows the limited scope to target benefits to the poor through reallocation of research resources among commodities, relative to a ranking based on the efficiency objective. Given present knowledge, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of research systems in promoting broad-based technical change should be emphasised more than major efforts to target poverty directly. This will involve a combination of supply- and demand-driven approaches to priority setting at different levels in the research system that will enhance both the efficiency and poverty alleviation impacts of research. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
The poor spend much of their income on food, depend primarily on labour earnings, and tend to reside in marginal agricultural areas. To reduce poverty, agricultural research should aim to ensure adequate food supplies by developing yield-increasing technologies, to increase labour demand by developing labour-using technologies and to develop technologies suitable for marginal areas. This article seeks to identify 'appropriate' technologies that agricultural research should generate for poverty reduction. The identification is based on a review of the experience of the Green Revolution in rice production in Asia and an assessment of the changing structure of income sources among rural households in the Philippines. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
In order to be relevant and timely, food policy research must address expected future knowledge gaps and information needs. Identification of emerging policy issues and related future information needs to play an important role in setting priorities for such research. This article presents results from extensive consultations with various stakeholder groups in the area of food policy research. Eleven emerging issues and eight issues of unfinished business were identified as issues requiring priority in future food policy research for developing countries. These issues outline both future food policy priorities for the developing countries and priorities for supporting policy research. The impact of globalization, risks and opportunities associated with new technology, and food safety concerns are expected to be at the forefront of the policy agenda for the next several years. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
The linkages between neo-liberalism and the fisheries sector in three of Latin America's principal fishing nations are examined. The paper shows how macroeconomic policies have not only re-inforced the sector's traditional export orientation but also permitted increased private participation in harvesting and processing. Production and export growth was facilitated by the absence of an effective regulatory framework as the belief that fish stocks were plenteous (following the designation of 200 mile Economic Exclusion Zones in the 1970s) encouraged governments to permit open access fisheries regimes. The belated recognition that there were indeed 'limits to growth' spawned a series of fisheries laws in the early-1990s which have sought to re-regulate the sector. To date these efforts have been largely unsuccessful - and the principal regional fisheries are presently both overcapitalised and dangerously overfished. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
In the area of science and technology, the knowledge gap between rich and poor countries is wide and increasing. In the area of biotechnology research, a second gap has recently emerged between private life science companies and public research institutions. As a result, a gap is rapidly widening between cutting-edge research in the developed world and publicly sponsored research being undertaken in the developing world. An obvious strategy for narrowing this gap is to form public-private research alliances. To overcome intervening obstacles, public research institutions in the developing world need to adopt creative new approaches to the process of negotiating with their potential private partners. These approaches must focus on leveraging the complementarities and potential synergies between their knowledge assets and those of the private sector. Concurrently, institutional arrangements must be set in place that are geared toward managing the risks and dangers of greatest concern to their constituencies. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the republics of Central Asia began to restructure their agricultural sectors to achieve food security and to adjust to the requirements of a market economy. Although they encountered many common challenges, their agricultural policies differed significantly. For this reason, it is important to see the results of these policies and to learn lessons from them. This paper discusses the role of and the challenges facing rangelands and livestock production systems in achieving food security among the pastoral communities of Central Asia. It analyzes the trends in livestock development during the economic transition in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Uzbekistan, and derives policy directions for the sustainable use of rangelands and for the growth of the livestock sector in Central Asia. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
This paper reviews the state of knowledge about the key issues needing to be understood to satisfactorily resolve a long-standing debate within the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system. The debate revolves around the effects on various populations (particularly the poor) of different allocations of research effort between marginal and favoured production environments. This paper specifically focuses on what is known about the geographical distribution of the rural poor, across agro-ecological zones and over time. Variations in the income-generating activities-including non-agricultural activities-engaged in by the poor are examined and the ways in which specific technology packages affect the economic well-being of different types of households, both directly and indirectly. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Natural disaster can create significant shocks in food supplies for small country-states. These events are very disruptive to the development process. Market-based means for managing natural disaster risk are emerging. For example, despite the failure of government-subsidized crop insurance around the world, it is now possible to create index-based contracts that would trigger when events that create serious crop failure problems occur. This paper investigates the logic for such contracts and some basic designs using measures of rainfall. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Given that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union has imposed milk marketing quota on producers, the fact that they are tradeable in the UK increases economic efficiency. Nevertheless, significant inefficiencies remain. Modelling work reported here suggests that significantly more quota needed to be transferred from less to more efficient producers in 1996/97 for industry efficiency to be maximised, and that a large number of vulnerable inefficient producers remained in milk production. It is also shown that, despite tradeable quotas, a significant number of dairy farmers still achieve a poor match between available quota and production. It is argued that the rules on quota trading could be changed to increase efficiency. Finally, it is argued that UK milk producers are incurring costs for acquiring quota which add at least 12.5% to production costs: a high price to pay for the market stability which quotas have brought.
This paper provides an overview of agricultural policy reforms and their impact on food security in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Owing to increasing hostility in regional trade among the countries of Central Asia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, like their neighbors, have chosen to follow a path of food self-sufficiency, which has biased their agricultural systems towards grain production. The paper finds that the land reforms in these two countries, which have dismantled the state farms, have resulted in reduced productivity of crops and declining food availability at the household level. It argues that reversing this trend will require increased investment in rural infrastructure and agricultural research to improve crop yields, and in the short-term, food security interventions to protect the poor and vulnerable. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
This paper argues that world cereal prices are good indicators of the state of world cereal markets. It tests whether real prices for wheat, rice and maize exhibit deterministic or stochastic trends, concluding that the underlying trends are most likely deterministic. After appropriate deterministic detrending, the paper tests for increased variance of the residuals of real cereal prices, finding that there does not appear to be evidence for increased year-to-year price instability. Tests for increased intra-year price variability also reject the hypothesis of increased variability. Discussion of recent changes in the pattern of world cereal production and trade suggests that these conclusions are not contrary to observed trends. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
This paper provides an overview of Kazakhstan's wheat system following independence and identifies policies and constrants currently influencing the operation and development of the system. It also looks at the factors affecting production decisions, including the current operating environment, intra-sectoral linkages, and overall macroeconomic conditions and identifies several alternative sources of productivity growth that can potentially improve the current and future competitiveness of Kazakhstan's wheat producers. The paper emphasizes that the wheat system cannot operate in isolation from the rest of the economy. Regaining lost levels of productivity can only be accomplished with some level of coordinated policy linking the priorities of the wheat system with those of the agricultural sector and the economy as a whole. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.