DFID’s Agriculture and Growth evidence paper series

One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

ID-10071316The UK Department for International Development has recently released a series of evidence synthesis papers on agriculture and economic growth, which aim to inform decision makers. While they do not represent DFID’s policy position they summarise the evidence underpinning debates related to several topics – agriculture and growth, agriculture and poverty, agriculture and the private sector, agriculture and women, and food prices and poverty.

Agriculture is an important sector for many developing countries both now and for their future development, contributing both to economic growth and reducing rural poverty. From the evidence assessed it appears that agriculture can have a positive effect on the economic growth of a country but this effect is contingent on many context-specific factors such as the current stage of economic development and resource endowments. Strong political commitment and an understanding of the local economy are key to maximising agriculture’s contribution…

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Reviving Farming Should Be Part of the Economic Agenda

A comprehensive Marshall plan for Agriculture should address the issue raised….

Foundation for Young Farmers

We are having a kind of Marshall Plan for the transport sector, IT sector, and virtually all other sectors, apart from agriculture. Sure, land matters are set to be fairly sorted with the reorganisation of land registration and ownership files, which essentially should make many people see land more as a productive resource. However, more will need to be done to ensure that agriculture is at the forefront of discussions on Kenya’s economic agenda.

And it’s easy to see why agriculture should be given utmost priority. For one, nearly three out of every five jobs are linked to agriculture either directly or indirectly. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, agriculture will ensure that there is enough food, and in this, food could be of strategic importance, just as we see it elsewhere in the world. Everyone reminds us that Israel is a desert yet exports oranges and so many other agricultural…

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Is organic farming out of date?

Science on the Land

There’s evidence that organic methods can be very productive, as I’ll discuss in this blog when I get around to that. I grow food on an allotment here in Britain. There, like many modern allotmenteers, I use organic methods. I buy organic produce too, plus organic meat, eggs and dairy products.

But are organic methods out of date now that we share our world with genetically modified (GM, genetically engineered, GE) crops? Have people who oppose GM crops lost this war?

A recent legal challenge about GM ended in defeat for an organic farmer called Steve Marsh. Mr Marsh farms in Western Australia. He sued his neighbour, Michael Baxter, after GM seeds (almost certainly from from Mr Baxter’s land) ended up on Mr Marsh’s land. Under the Australian zero-tolerance policy for GM contamination in organic produce, Mr Marsh lost organic status from 75% of his land. So he…

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