Abid Ul Kabir, Md. Sirajul Islam and Md.
Fifty-five out of countries identified by the World Bank for World Development Indicators are predominantly agriculture-based economies, with 25 of them having threefourths of their population eking out a living on farms—and these, interestingly, are located mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia.
Agriculture and poverty are closely interrelated. And that agriculture forms the backbone of the economy is well-known. Perhaps nowhere is the link between agriculture and poverty more apparent than in the Third World. Out of the 55 predominantly agriculture-based nations where more than half of the population depends on agriculture for living only 18 Albania, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, etc.
It is regrettable to note that in a majority of the agricultural economies, the annual growth rate of agriculture remains much below that of industry, manufacturing, and service sectors.
According to United Nations projections, the world population is expected to exceed 8. On average, 73 million people will be added annually, and 97 percent of the projected growth will take place in the developing countries.
About million people are food insecure, and million preschool children suffer from malnutrition. A large number of people also suffer from deficiencies of micronutrients such as iron and vitamin A. The major problems faced by the rural poor include low productivity, food insecurity, and poor nutrition.
The availability of land is decreasing over time, and such a decrease is expected to be much greater in the developing countries than in developed countries especially in Asia. Grain production has shown a remarkable increase between andwhile a marginal increase was recorded between and There is a need to increase production foods to meet the demands of increasing population.
The south Asian region is home to the largest number of poor people in the world. Nearly one-third of all malnourished people in the world live in this region and they need access to affordable and nutritious food.
Food security is a critical concern in south Asia, especially against the current background of rapid population growth. The resource-poor, small-scale farmers, who contribute substantially to food production in this region, need to be empowered with appropriate technologies to enhance sustainable agricultural productivity and production.
It is necessary to appreciate the paradox in this relationship. In many developing countries about 60 to 75 percent of the aggregate national labor force either works or depends on the output of land for sustenance.
This sharply contrasts with the situation in advanced countries, even though they usually have a flourishing agriculture. Thus, in the United States about 12 percent and in the United Kingdom about 5 percent of the workforce are engaged in agricultural pursuits.
Even in countries like Canada and Australia, in which agriculture is one of the major sectors of the national economy, only about 25 percent of the workforce is engaged in agriculture.
In India, as in China, a staggering 65 percent are engaged in or dependent on agriculture. The World Bank has stated: They have barely adequate and often uncertain diets, and incomes so low that they can spend little for clothing, fuel, shelter, and other essentials.
Past experience clearly shows that a combination of the growth of agriculture and of the economy is essential for longterm alleviation of such poverty. A brief comparison between agricultural productivity in the developed countries and the underdeveloped nations makes this clear.
World agriculture, in fact, comprises two distinct types of farming: The gap between the two kinds of agriculture is immense.
Another manifestation of the productivity gap relates to land productivity. The table below, from the World Bank, shows variations in land productivity measured as kilograms of grain harvested per hectare of agricultural land between Japan and the United States on one hand, and six heavily populated countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America on the other.
In the developed countries, there has been a steady growth of agriculture output since the midth century. This growth has been spurred by technological and biological improvements, which have resulted in ever higher levels of labor and land productivity.
The end result is that fewer farmers are able to produce more food. This is especially the case in the United States, where in only two percent of the total workforce were agricultural, compared with more than 70 percent in the early 19th century.
For example inthe American farmer could produce only four times his own consumption. A century later, inhis productivity had doubled, and he could provide enough for eight persons.
It took only another 32 years for this productivity to double again, and then only 12 more years for it to double once more. Bya single American farmer could provide enough food to feed almost 80 people.
Moreover, during the entire period, average farm incomes in North America rose steadily. The picture is entirely different when we turn to the agricultural production experience of developing nations. In many poor countries, agricultural production methods have changed relatively slowly over time Much of this technological stagnation can be traced to the special circumstances of peasant agriculture, with its high risks and uncertain rewards.The present global food regime is unsustainable.
In response, all over the world a growing network of local social movements has emerged—i.e. consumer awareness organizations, urban gardeners, rural platforms, transition towns and citizens’ initiatives, slow food and zero-km promoters, organic farmers, small-size cooperatives, Via Campesina and other peasant unions.
Others include the Nigerian Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank (NACRDB)/Agricultural Bank, Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), the performance of the Agricultural sector in Nigeria is abysmal in terms of product contribution, of the on-going debate on the nexus between governance and economic development.
CIAS brings together university faculty, farmers, policy makers, and others to study relationships between farming practices, farm profitability, the environment, and rural vitality. Among the educational materials offered is Toward a Sustainable Agriculture, a curriculum for high school students!
The curriculum is available online in six modules. Abstract: The interrelationships between water resources, food production and energy security have influenced policy for many decades so the emergence of the water-food-energy “nexus” as a proposed new focus for water resources management is surprising.
Agriculture and Drylands Management (Updated in 7/05) Abdulai, A., "Economies of scale and the demand for food in Switzerland: Parametric and non-parametric analysis" Journal of Agricultural Economics. 54, No. 2 (): Agriculture is a vital building block for the economy of the Midwest, producing raw materials for food and biofuels manufacturing, as well as stimulating demand for farm equipment, trucks, and more.