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.

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  • Publication
    Realigning Agricultural Support to Promote Climate-Smart Agriculture
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-11) World Bank Group
    This note, prepared by the World Bank Food and Agriculture Global Practice ahead of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change examines the case for realigning agriculture support to promote climate-smart agriculture. From 2015 to 2017, the group of 51 countries analyzed provided approximately 570 billion US dollars annually in public support for agricultural producers, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Distortionary agricultural subsidies often result in large negative impacts, worsening rather than improving climate outcomes. Significant opportunities exist to realign public support to deliver public-good outcomes and, in particular, promote climate-smart agriculture (CSA).
  • Publication
    Indicators for Assessing Policy and Institutional Frameworks for Climate Smart Agriculture
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-09) Braimoh, Ademola; Rawlins, Maurice; Zhao, Yuxuan; Loundu, Wisambi
    Agriculture accounts for 40 percent of the land area and 70 percent of the freshwaterresources that humans use, and 24 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions. The scale of global emissions from agriculture and land-use change is increasingdue to population growth, growing consumption of meat and dairy products,and the rising use of nitrogen fertilizers,1 among other factors. Projections indicatethat emissions from human activities other than agriculture and land-use change couldincrease from 54 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq) to roughly 70 GtCO2-eq by 2050. To avoid dangerous global warming in which the global temperaturerises above 2 degree Celsius relative to preindustrial eras, global GHG emissions by2050 need to fall to roughly 21–22 Gt CO2-eq. Under business-as-usual practices,agriculture would contribute roughly 70 percent of these total emissions by midcentury.This implies that agriculture will need to cut its current emissions by two-thirdswhile simultaneously increasing food production.
  • Publication
    Pull Mechanisms for Overcoming Market Failures in the Agriculture Sector: Initial Lessons Learned with Case Illustrations from AgResults’ Kenya On-Farm Storage Pilot
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-08) Mainville, Denise; Narayan, Tulika
    After the food crises of 2007-2008 and the growing realization that donor resources were not sufficient to meet global agricultural development challenges, the AgResults initiative was launched at the June 2012 G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico as an innovation to boost private sector engagement in meeting these challenges. AgResults initiative comprised of seven pilot projects that incentivize the private sector to develop and deliver innovative products to smallholder farmers in settings where markets for these products are otherwise underdeveloped. Each pilot provides financial incentives to the private sector actors to encourage them to enter the market, but the incentives are paid only after they achieve predefined results. This Knowledge Note reflects the initial findings from the external evaluator’s ongoing research to evaluate the pilots. The authors conclude by identifying the critical steps involved in design of a pull mechanism. Throughout, the authors draw on examples from the AgResults On-Farm Storage pilot in Kenya to illustrate their guidance.
  • Publication
    Lessons from Scaling Up: Reducing Postharvest Loss through Mini Cold Storage Technology - Lessons from India
    (Washington, DC, 2012-06) World Bank
    The new 'lessons from practice: assessing scalability' report aims to provide specific tools and guidance to World Bank Task Team Leaders (TTLs) and other agricultural development specialists which can assist them in identifying the potential for scaling up small, innovative projects throughout the entire project cycle, from inception through completion. The report, developed in collaboration with the Heller school for social policy and management at Brandeis University, draws on lessons from the experience of the Development Marketplace (DM) in funding small innovation projects and offers strategic advice to agricultural practitioners on assessing the scalability of such projects. This note is based on a case study from India from the report.
  • Publication
    Agricultural Innovation Funds
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2011-05) Rajalahti, Riikka; Larson, Gunnar
    In order for agricultural development to fulfill its potential role as a source of growth and reducer of poverty, it must be constantly renewed through knowledge and innovation. Getting resources into the hands of innovators and providing incentives for producers, agricultural service providers, and entrepreneurs to collaborate in developing and applying new methods and technologies is a priority among institutions concerned with agricultural knowledge. While grants have long been used to finance agricultural innovation, in many countries there has been a shift away from block grant funding and towards the use of innovation funds. These are used to provide incentives and resources for investment and collaboration between innovators, producer groups, private entrepreneurs, and public institutions. Innovation funds allocate grants to targeted applicants based on a system for evaluating the eligibility, relevance, and quality of applicants' proposals.
  • Publication
    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.
  • Publication
    Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant : Prospects for Commercial Agriculture in the Guinea Savannah Zone and Beyond
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-06) Morris, Michael
    Stimulating agricultural growth is critical to reducing poverty in Africa. Commercial agriculture, potentially a powerful driver of agricultural growth, can develop along a number of pathways. Yet many developing regions have failed to progress very far along any of these pathways. Particularly in Africa, agriculture continues to lag. During the past 30 years the competitiveness of many African export crops has declined, and Africa's dependence on imported food crops has increased. While the poor performance of African agriculture can be attributed partly to adverse agroecological conditions, experience from elsewhere in the developing world suggests that significant progress is possible. The Guinea Savannah covers some 600 million hectares in Africa, of which about 400 million can be used for agriculture. Less than ten percent of this area is currently cropped, making it one of the largest underused agricultural land reserves in the world.
  • Publication
    Improving Agricultural Productivity and Markets : The Role of Information and Communication Technologies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-04) McNamara, Kerry
    Raising the productivity of smallholders is a necessary condition for increasing incomes and improving livelihoods among the rural poor in most developing countries. This increased productivity is essential to both household food security and to agriculture-based growth and poverty reduction in the larger economy. Smallholder productivity is limited by a variety of constraints including poor soils, unpredictable rainfall, and imperfect markets, as well as lack of access to productive resources, financial services, or infrastructure. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are also vitally important to commercial and large-scale agriculture, and to agriculture-related services and infrastructure such as weather monitoring and irrigation. This note focuses on the sometimes less-obvious importance of ICT in improving the information, communication, transaction, and networking elements of smallholder agriculture in developing countries.
  • Publication
    Tracking Results in Agriculture and Rural Development in Less-Than-Ideal Conditions : A Sourcebook of Indicators for Monitoring and Evaluation
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-03) Larson, Gunnar
    The demand for verifiable evidence of results and impacts of development agricultural programs and projects is growing. However, most of the indicators that development practitioners have traditionally used in tracking progress toward achieving projects' objectives focus on the workings of the development operation itself. These performance indicators relate mainly to lower-level inputs and outputs and are used to populate management information systems. Higher-level indicators are used to measure progress in achieving the ultimate objectives of projects, and in bringing about larger outcomes and impacts. The ability to measure and demonstrate outcomes and impacts relies on the use of indicators that are based on reliable data and on the capacity to systematically collect and analyze that information. The conditions in which monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are carried out vary widely, depending on the demand for information, the extent to which it is used to inform decision-making, and the reliability of the systems that are in place to capture and convey that information. Throughout much of the developing world these conditions are "less-than-ideal," and information is irregular and often lacking altogether. In these conditions there is a lack of effective demand for information on the part of policy makers. The conditions are often especially pronounced for data related to rural areas, where the costs of data collection are high and the quality of existing data is particularly low. Building data systems and developing and supporting capacity for M&E in these conditions is, therefore, a pressing imperative for interventions in the agriculture and rural development sector. Strengthening capacity for M&E begins at the national and sub-national levels, where addressing the weaknesses of national statistical systems is a common priority. The data collected and reported within countries must not only be of sufficient quality to inform planning and policy formulation but must also be consistent between countries.
  • Publication
    Cultivating Knowledge and Skills to Grow African Agriculture
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-12) Agwe, Jonathan
    This Program states that larger investments in agricultural research, extension, and education systems are required to achieve the targeted increase in agricultural output of 6 percent a year over the next 20 years.To enhance the quality and productivity of Agricultural Education and Training (AET) in Africa, the case for improving its agricultural education capacities is compelling in view of their seminal role in agricultural development elsewhere in the world. AET development was an integral part of strategies of countries that grew agriculture successfully, such as Brazil, India, and Malaysia. The analytical work carried out on AET in Africa identified some priorities as key to modernize agricultural education in Africa These priorities are: 1 Political will must be generated in support of agricultural development by educating the public about its role in economic growth and poverty reduction, creating capacities for lobbying, joining forces with other stakeholders, and sustaining these efforts over two or three decades.(2) It is desirable to assess and re-balance AET enrollment profiles away from secondary level vocational training towards diploma, degree, and post-graduate levels (3) It is essential to replenish human capital by strengthening and expanding national Master of Science programs, laying the foundation for Ph.D. programs, and tackling the conundrum of incentives for staff retention.(4) Finances must be managed proactively by making more efficient use of existing resources, mobilizing non-public resources, and persuading donors to finance operating costs.(5) Much better gender balance must be achieved among AET graduates. African universities and other institutions of higher learning ultimately will be responsible for replenishing the stock of human capital in national research and extension services, and for providing them with the broader set of skills necessary to grow agriculture in the 21st century.