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Agriculture and Pro-Poor Growth

Agriculture and Pro-Poor Growth

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Published by Jason Wolfe
In Agriculture and Pro-Poor Growth, C. Peter Timmer examines agriculture’s role in fostering economic growth and enhancing its effects on the poor. Given that many of the world’s poor are farmers, Timmer concludes that improved agricultural productivity will raise farmers’ incomes and reduce the incidence of poverty. Since poverty lines are usually defined with reference to food intake, increased agricultural productivity also means fewer poor people. Ideally, growth in agriculture should lead to a decline in poverty. Timmer, however, is quick to recognize that in the real world things are different. In many circumstances, for example, the poor do not have access to the higher returns resulting from improved agricultural productivity. In others, increased agricultural productivity results in depressed food prices. Consumers benefit, particularly poor urban residents who devote a large portion of their budget to food. But farmers can end up worse off. Therefore the application of agricultural technology to solve rural poverty is complicated at best. Moreover, in an era of open economies and global markets, the relationship between agricultural growth and poverty reduction are even more tenuous.
In Agriculture and Pro-Poor Growth, C. Peter Timmer examines agriculture’s role in fostering economic growth and enhancing its effects on the poor. Given that many of the world’s poor are farmers, Timmer concludes that improved agricultural productivity will raise farmers’ incomes and reduce the incidence of poverty. Since poverty lines are usually defined with reference to food intake, increased agricultural productivity also means fewer poor people. Ideally, growth in agriculture should lead to a decline in poverty. Timmer, however, is quick to recognize that in the real world things are different. In many circumstances, for example, the poor do not have access to the higher returns resulting from improved agricultural productivity. In others, increased agricultural productivity results in depressed food prices. Consumers benefit, particularly poor urban residents who devote a large portion of their budget to food. But farmers can end up worse off. Therefore the application of agricultural technology to solve rural poverty is complicated at best. Moreover, in an era of open economies and global markets, the relationship between agricultural growth and poverty reduction are even more tenuous.

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Published by: Jason Wolfe on Jun 25, 2010
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09/21/2010

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PRO-POOR ECONOMIC GROWTH RESEARCH STUDIES
CONTRACT NO. PCE-I-02-00-00015-00
Agriculture and Pro-Poor Growth
 
Deliverable 1: Research and Results Dissemination Plan and Time LineDeliverable 2: WebsiteDeliverable 3: Pro-Poor Economic Growth: A Review of Recent LiteratureDeliverable 4: Poverty-Problem Countries TypologiesDeliverable 5: Selection Criteria for Pro-Poor Economic Growth PoliciesDeliverable 6: Preliminary Policy RecommendationsDeliverable 7: Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers: A Preliminary Analysis of the Process and OutputsDeliverable 8: Meeting: Presentation of Phase One ResultsDeliverable 9: Workshop: Phase One Results, Preliminary Findings, and Planned ResearchDeliverable 10: Poverty, Economic Growth, and Development Policies and Activities: A Case Study of:
Brazil 
Egypt 
Indonesia
Peru
Uganda
Ukraine
Zambia
India or Sri Lanka
Deliverable 11: Pro-Poor (Sector) Policies, Reforms and Activities
 Agriculture
Education
Finance
Deliverable 12: Pro-Poor Economic Growth Policies, Reforms, and ActivitiesDeliverable 13: Workshop: Research Findings and Implications for USAID ProgrammingDeliverable 14: Pro-Poor Economic Growth and Poverty Reducing Policies, Reforms, and Activities(Guidance Manual)Deliverable 15: Workshop: Final Findings and Presentation of Guidance ManualDeliverable 16: Dissemination of Findings of Guidance ManualDeliverable 17: Final Project ReportDeliverable 18: Issues Papers on:V
OLUME
I:
Health
HIV/AIDS
Privatization
V
OLUME
II:
Conflict and Post-Conflict Recovery 
The Environment 
Gender 
 
Agriculture and Pro-Poor Growth
ByC. Peter Timmer 
July 2003
The Pro-Poor Economic Growth Research Studies and Guidance Manual Activity, implemented by Development Alternatives, Inc. and Boston Institute for Developing Economies, is funded by the Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade, U.S. Agency for International Development,under the terms of Contract No. PCE-I-02-00-00015-00, Task Order #2. This document represents Deliverable #11 under this task order.

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