Agriculture and Food
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A strong food and agriculture system is fundamental to economic growth, poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, and human health. The Agriculture and Food Series is intended to prompt public discussion and inform policies that will deliver higher incomes, reduce hunger, improve sustainability, and generate better health and nutrition from the food we grow and eat. It expands on the former Agriculture and Rural Development series by considering issues from farm to fork, in both rural and urban settings. Titles in this series undergo internal and external review under the management of the World Bank’s Agriculture and Food Global Practice.
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Building Competitiveness in Africa's Agriculture : A Guide to Value Chain Concepts and Applications(World Bank, 2010) Webber, C. Martin ; Labaste, PatrickThe development and business communities involved in the African agriculture and agribusiness sectors have recently experienced a strong resurgence of interest in promoting value chains as an approach that can help design interventions geared to add value, lower transaction costs, diversify rural economies, and contribute to increasing rural household incomes in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries. Enhancing value chain competitiveness is increasingly recognized as an effective approach to generating growth and reducing the rural poverty prevalent in the region. This is a welcome development for practitioners who have long been convinced of the need to look differently at agriculture not just as a means of survival, but as smaller or larger commercial businesses linked to domestic and global markets and of the need to identify and tap into new sources of potential growth and value addition in the sector. Hopefully, renewed engagement will lead to a substantial increase in the flow of financial resources and technical assistance devoted to supporting market-driven, competitive agro-enterprises and agricultural value chains throughout the African continent. However, there is danger that this renewed engagement may not last, or may even backfire, if the high expectations placed on promoting value chains are not met. Because the development literature is not clear about the concepts and methods relating to value chains, there is risk that sooner or later the benefits of the value chain approach will be overshadowed by unmet expectations. That in turn could cause the approach to be discarded categorically. Although there is no single way to mitigate such risks, this guide aims to offer practical advice and tools to businessmen, policy makers, representatives of farmer or trade organizations, and others who are engaged in SSA agro-enterprise and agribusiness development. This guide is particularly designed for those who want to know more about value chain based approaches, and how to use them in ways that can contribute to sound operational decisions and results for enterprise and industry development, as well as for policy making with respect to doing business, stimulating investment, and enhancing trade in the context of African agriculture.
Gender and Governance in Rural Services : Insights from India, Ghana, and Ethiopia(World Bank, 2010) World BankAs the first output from the gender and governance in rural services project, this report presents descriptive findings and qualitative analysis of accountability mechanisms in agricultural extension and rural water supply in India, Ghana, and Ethiopia, paying specific attention to gender responsiveness. The gender and governance in rural services project seeks to generate policy-relevant knowledge on strategies to improve agricultural and rural service delivery, with a focus on providing more equitable access to these services, especially for women. The project focuses on agricultural extension, as an example of an agricultural service, and drinking water, as an example of rural service that is not directly related to agriculture but is of high relevance for rural women. A main goal of this project was to generate empirical micro level evidence about the ways various accountability mechanisms for agricultural and rural service provision work in practice and to identify factors that influence the suitability of different governance reform strategies that aim to make service provision more gender responsive. Three out of four poor people in the developing world live in rural areas, and most of them depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. Providing economic services, such as agricultural extension, is essential to using agriculture for development. At the same time, the rural poor need a range of basic services, such as drinking water, education, and health services. Such services are difficult to provide in rural areas because they are subject to the "triple challenge" of market, state, and community failure. As a result of market failure, the private sector does not provide these services to the rural poor to the extent that is desirable from society's point of view. The state is not very effective in providing these services either, because these services have to be provided every day throughout the country, even in remote areas, and because they require discretion and cannot easily be standardized, especially if they are demand driven. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and communities themselves are interesting alternative providers of these services, but they too can fail, because of capacity constraints and local elite capture. This triple challenge of market, state, and community failure results in the poor provision of agricultural and rural services, a major obstacle to agricultural and rural development.
Organization and Performance of Cotton Sectors in Africa : Learning from Reform Experience(World Bank, 2009) Tschirley, David ; Poulton, Colin ; Labaste, PatrickCotton is a major source of foreign exchange earnings in more than 15 countries across all regions of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) and a crucial source of cash income for millions of rural people in these countries. The crop is, therefore, critical in the fight against rural poverty. The World Bank and other development institutions have been and are currently assisting many cotton exporting countries of SSA to improve their cotton sector performance through projects supporting investment as well as through policy and institutional reform. Many SSA countries have been implementing or are considering implementing reforms of their cotton industries. The ultimate objective of the reform programs is to strengthen the competitiveness of cotton production, processing, and exports in an increasingly demanding world market and to ensure long-term, sustainable, and equitable growth for these major sectors of many African economies. The reform programs generally entail redefining the role of the state; facilitating greater involvement of the private sector and farmer organizations; ensuring greater competition in input and output markets; improving productivity through research and development, extension, and technology dissemination; and seeking value addition through market development and processing of cotton lint and by-products. A number of SSA cotton sectors, especially in West and Central Africa (WCA), are currently facing serious short-term financial difficulties. It is important to clarify that the purpose of this report is not to provide quick solutions to these short-run problems. Rather, it is to step back, build up a reliable broad assessment of cotton sector performance from detailed empirical information, and thereby provide guidance for the design of strategies that will address the long-term challenges of cotton production and marketing in Africa. Finally, to ensure that a broad perspective was brought to bear, the study was entrusted to a team which includes independent researchers and experts in the field of cotton.