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World Bank report 2008

Agriculture is a vital development tool for achieving the first development goal according to the World Bank's World Development Report 2008. The report is intended to provide "guidance to governments and the international community on designing and implementing agriculture-for-development agendas," writes Robert Zoellick, the President of the World Bank Group in the foreword.

The potential for agriculture to cut across other sectors to produce faster growth, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability inducing 'multiplier effects', is highlighted throughout the report. It also outlines trade policy advocating liberalisation but with caution, and concludes that recognition of agriculture as a prominent part of the development agenda "will provide high payoffs towards the Millennium Development Goals and beyond."

However, the report has been criticised by Action Aid, which claims "the bank's promotion of agricultural liberalisation at all costs and dismantling of public support systems for smallholder farmers is directly related to the fact that 70 per cent of the world's hungry people now live in rural areas." It has argued that policies promoted by the bank will only exacerbate the rural crisis, and not fix it.

Date published: November 2007


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