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Rural poverty report 2011: New realities, new challenges, new opportunities for tomorrow's generation

Rural poverty report

By IFAD authors
Published by IFAD
Website: www.ifad.org
2010, 320pp, ISBN 978 9 29072 200 7(Pb), free to download

International food prices doubled between 2006 and 2008 and about 100 million poor people were pushed into poverty. Looking to the future, global food production will need to increase by 70 per cent to feed an estimated population of 9 billion people by 2050. "We need a clear understanding of what the face of poverty looks like now, a basket of practical solutions to today's myriad challenges and a coherent approach for tackling the evolving challenges of the future," writes IFAD's president, Kanayo Nwanze in the foreword of IFAD's 2011 poverty report. "The report provides all three."

To reduce poverty, the report points to four key issues that need to be tackled: improving the overall environment of rural areas (including better infrastructure, services and governance) so that people have greater opportunities; reducing the risks that poor people face; investing in education to increase productivity, dynamism and innovation in the rural economy; and strengthening the collective capacities of rural people to give them the confidence, security and power to overcome poverty.

With chapters on agricultural markets, sustainable agricultural intensification and the rural non-farm economy, the report identifies solutions and highlights policies that governments could take to support the poor. "The challenges of addressing rural poverty, while also feeding a growing world population in a context of increasing environmental scarcities and climate change, loom large," the authors write. "A focus on agriculture, aimed at assisting them (rural people) to address these challenges, must remain a major thrust of efforts to reduce poverty and promote economic development alike. In all circumstance, the ultimate aim must be the development of smallholder farming systems that are productive, integrated into dynamic markets, and environmentally sustainable and resilient to risks and shocks."

Clearly written, with case studies and firsthand accounts of poor people and their livelihoods, IFAD's rural poverty report is a thorough and practical resource for policymakers and development practitioners. Implementing the agenda for action, outlined in the report, requires a collective effort between governments, the private sector, civil society and rural people's organizations, with the international development community playing a supporting or facilitating role as needed," the authors conclude. "If all of these stakeholders want it enough, rural poverty can be substantially reduced," the authors state. "What is at stake is not only improving the present for one billion rural people and the prospects for food security for all, but also the rural world and the opportunities within it that tomorrow's generation will inherit."

Date published: March 2011

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