GROWTH AND POVERTY REDUCTION: THE ROLE OF AGRICULTURE
Agriculture is a key part of DFID’s efforts to reduce global poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It extends into many other areas of development policy and complements our work on issues such as fisheries, forestry, food security, social protection, governance and trade. Building on our understanding of livelihoods (DFID, 2012), this paper shows why we believe agriculture should be placed at the heart of efforts to reduce poverty. It proposes principles and priorities to guide our work, and to help decision-makers to weigh up the potential growth and poverty impact of agriculture compared with other competing demands on resources. Our approach to agriculture is based on the premise that agriculture’s importance to poverty reduction goes far beyond its direct impact on farmers’ incomes. There is a mass of evidence that increasing agricultural productivity has benefited millions through higher incomes, more plentiful and cheaper food, and by generating patterns of development that are employment-intensive and benefit both rural and urban areas. More importantly, it has provided the spur to economic development outside agriculture where growth and job creation are faster and wages higher.