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Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2010-01) Isa, Qazi Asmat ; Ahmed, Naila ; Larson, GunnarPoverty in Pakistan is overwhelmingly rural. Some two-thirds of Pakistan's population, and over 60 percent of the country's poor, live in rural areas. In 2005, average per capita expenditures in rural areas were 31 percent lower than in urban areas. This inequality between urban and rural areas is re-enforced by inequality within and between rural areas. Owing to uneven access to land and useable water, most of the increased income that results from agricultural production accrues to higher income farmers-who typically spend a disproportionate amount of their income on urban goods and services. This inequality seriously limits the impacts of agricultural growth on rural poverty, and is a major cause of sustained poverty and low productivity among small farmers and rural nonfarm households. It also points to the importance of effectively targeting the poor in contexts in which resources intended for them are likely to be captured by more privileged groups.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-01) Syroka, Joanna ; Bunte, KaraMalawi 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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-05) Larson, Gunnar ; Lamb, John ; VanDer Meer, CornelisThe 2008 World Development Report identifies competition as an important variable of the rural investment climate. Competition triggers innovation and the productivity gains that drive economic growth, and with it the creation of jobs. Employment is generally the principal pathway that people have out of poverty. Fostering such competitive environments entails inducing the entry of local, mainly small-and-medium enterprises as well as the development of agribusinesses that enable small farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors to participate in expanding markets. The barriers to entry confronting prospective small rural enterprises include all the risks and costs and market failures characteristic of many rural economies, in addition to poor access to financial and public services, weak business skills, and extremely limited or non-existent information about what demand consists of in the non-local markets they hope to sell to. Improving the opportunities and incentives for rural firms to invest productively, expand, and bring on new workers should be a policy priority for governments, particularly given the prominence of policy, regulations, and enforcement in rural investors' perception of risk. Providing a sound, enabling policy environment is a vital role of the government and public sector and includes setting food quality and safety grades and standards and reliable contract enforcement. Such stable policy environments go very far in relieving investors' uncertainty over what governments will do next, what policies will be formulated, and how policies and regulations will be interpreted and enforced. This is a pressing concern among investors. Making policy formulation and enforcement more predictable can dramatically encourage investment (World Bank 2005).
Publication( 2007-05) Agwe, Jonathan ; Morris, Michael ; Fernabdes, ErickReversing Africa's decades-long decline in soil productivity levels poses a major challenge, and one that cannot be addressed without increased use of appropriate fertilizer nutrients. The 2006 World Bank Africa Fertilizer Strategy Assessment was undertaken to inform policy makers, providing them with guidelines on measures to effectively raise fertilizer use. This Note draws upon the material prepared for the above fertilizer strategy assessment, summarizes the information on the approaches to enhancing fertilizer supply and use in Africa, and identifies some future steps.