Agricultural and Rural Development Notes

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This series on commodity risk management aims to disseminate the results of World Bank research that describes the feasibility of developing countries’ ability to utilize market-based tools to mitigate risks associated with commodity price volatility and weather.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than 1 billion people, half of whom will be under 25 years old by 2050, is a diverse ...

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    Gender and Governance in Agricultural Extension Services : Insights from India, Ghana, and Ethiopia
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2010-03) Madhvani, Sonia ; Pehu, Eija
    The gender and governance in rural services insights from India, Ghana, and Ethiopia report aims to generate policy-relevant knowledge on strategies for improving agricultural service delivery, with a focus on providing more equitable access to these services, especially for women. The project has been implemented in India, Ghana, and Ethiopia. These countries were chosen to capture variation in important macro-factors, especially the level of economic development; various aspects of governance, such as political system and party system; the role of women in society; and strategies adopted to promote gender equity. The project focused on agricultural extension as an example of a critical agricultural service. In India, the main problem is the lack of overall capacity resulting from a past policy of not hiring agricultural extension providers. The study indicates that access to agricultural extension is low in Ghana, despite the fact that an extension agent-to-farmer ratio is comparatively high. Agricultural extension is a high for the Ethiopia government priority, but coverage of extension services across regions varies widely, and extension agents have limited discretion to adapt technology packages to the context of individual communities. The gender gap in access to extension can also be improved.
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    Managing Drought Risk for Food Security in Africa : An Innovative Solution in Malawi
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-01) Syroka, Joanna ; Bunte, Kara
    Malawi periodically experiences drought leading to shortages of grain on the domestic market and a sharp increase in consumer prices. Consumers, including many of the poorest farmers in the country, experience difficulty obtaining enough grain to meet their family requirements. One method to reduce the risks of grain shortfalls is to improve the capacity of farmers to produce enough grain even when drought occurs, for example, through input subsidies and efforts to improve water use efficiency. An additional measure is to finance the establishment and distribution of strategic grain stocks. However, in the occasional year when drought is most extreme, supplementary assistance will still be needed in the form of expensive food imports and, possibly, food aid.
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    Addressing Unequal Economic Opportunities : A Case Study of Land Tenure in Ghana
    (Washington, DC, 2006-09) World Bank
    The author examine this relationship in the context of agriculture in Ghana's Eastern Region. Our work traces the connection from a set of complex and explicitly negotiable property rights over land to agricultural investment and, in turn, to agricultural productivity. Using survey and focus group data, we find that while the land tenure institutions may have some benefits, they result in drastically lower productivity for those not connected to the political hierarchy. This paper discusses the following topics: land transactions and land rights, land tenure is a political process, and a safety net of sorts.
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    Conjunctive Use of Groundwater and Surface Water
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-02) Shah, Tushar ; Darghouth, Salah ; Dinar, Ariel
    Conjunctive water use refers to simultaneous use of surface water and groundwater to meet crop demand. This Note concludes that to optimize conjunctive use of water, the best way forward is to concentrate on capacity building of irrigation system managers to improve system management and reshape hydraulic infrastructure of large and small-surface systems. To sustain groundwater use in tube well-irrigated areas, enhancing recharge from precipitation and surface water imports is necessary. None of these improvements can be made without the proper institutional and organizational development, including investment in the capacities of local governments to lead on participatory groundwater management and integrated water resources management.