Agriculture and Food

23 items available

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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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Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • Publication
    What's Cooking: Digital Transformation of the Agrifood System
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-03-16) Schroeder, Kateryna; Lampietti, Julian; Elabed, Ghada
    The digital agriculture revolution holds a promise to build an agriculture and food system that is efficient, environmentally sustainable, and equitable, one that can help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. Unlike past technological revolutions in agriculture, which began on farms, the current revolution is being sparked at multiple points along the agrifood value chain. The change is driven by the ability to collect, use, and analyze massive amounts of machine-readable data about practically every aspect of the value chain, and by the emergence of digital platforms disrupting existing business models. All this allows for drastically reduced transaction costs and pervasive information asymmetries that plague the agrifood system. The success of the digital transformation, however, is not guaranteed as the risks it brings are numerous, including those related to data governance and inadequate competition within and between digital platforms. What’s Cooking: Digital Transformation of the Agrifood System investigates how digital technologies can accelerate the transformation of the agrifood system by increasing efficiency on the farm; improving farmers’ access to output, input, and financial markets; strengthening quality control and traceability; and improving the design and delivery of agriculture policies. It also identifies a key role for the public sector in maximizing the benefits of this process while minimizing its risks, through enabling an innovation ecosystem featuring open datasets, digital platforms, digital entrepreneurship, digital payment systems, and digital skills and encouraging equitable technology adoption.
  • Publication
    Rising Global Interest in Farmland : Can it Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits?
    (World Bank, 2011) Deininger, Klaus; Lindsay, Jonathan; Norton, Andrew; Selod, Harris
    Interest in farmland is rising. And, given commodity price volatility, growing human and environmental pressures, and worries about food security, this interest will increase, especially in the developing world. One of the highest development priorities in the world must be to improve smallholder agricultural productivity, especially in Africa. Smallholder productivity is essential for reducing poverty and hunger, and more and better investment in agricultural technology, infrastructure, and market access for poor farmers is urgently needed. When done right, larger-scale farming systems can also have a place as one of many tools to promote sustainable agricultural and rural development, and can directly support smallholder productivity, for example, throughout grower programs. However, recent press and other reports about actual or proposed large farmland acquisition by big investors have raised serious concerns about the danger of neglecting local rights and other problems. They have also raised questions about the extent to which such transactions can provide long-term benefits to local populations and contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development. Although these reports are worrying, the lack of reliable information has made it difficult to understand what has been actually happening. Against this backdrop, the World Bank, under the leadership of Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, along with other development partners, has highlighted the need for good empirical evidence to inform decision makers, especially in developing countries.
  • Publication
    Gender and Governance in Rural Services : Insights from India, Ghana, and Ethiopia
    (World Bank, 2010) World Bank
    As 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.
  • Publication
    Bioenergy Development : Issues and Impacts for Poverty and Natural Resource Management
    (World Bank, 2010) Cushion, Elizabeth; Whiteman, Adrian; Dieterle, Gerhard
    These report overviews recent developments in the consumption and production of bioenergy. It examines the main issues and possible economic implications of these developments and assesses their potential impact on land use and the environment, especially with respect to forests. The report examines both solid biomass and liquid biofuels, identifying opportunities and challenges at the regional and country levels. The development of bioenergy presents both opportunities and challenges for economic development and the environment. It is likely to have significant impacts on the forest sector, directly, through the use of wood for energy production, and indirectly, as a result of changes in land use. The impact of bioenergy on poverty alleviation in developing countries will depend on the opportunities for agricultural development, including income and employment generation, the potential to increase poor peoples' access to improved types of bioenergy; and the effects on energy and food prices. Five main messages emerge from this report: solid biomass will continue to be a principal source of energy; developments in bioenergy will have major implications for land use; tradeoffs, including those related to poverty, equity, and the environment, must be evaluated when choosing a bioenergy system; there is considerable potential for making greater use of forestry and timber waste as a bioenergy feedstock; and the climate benefits of bioenergy development are uncertain and highly location and feedstock specific.
  • Publication
    Agribusiness and Innovation Systems in Africa
    (World Bank, 2009) Larsen, Kurt; Theus, Florian
    The role of agriculture in sustainable development and poverty reduction for the vast majority of developing countries cannot be overemphasized. Forty-five percent of the developing world's population lives in households involved in agriculture, and twenty-seven percent in smallholder households, and most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. The agricultural sector generates on average twenty-nine percent of gross domestic product (GDP), employs sixty-five percent of the labor force in agriculture-based countries, and is a key to generating overall growth. This book attempts to address these questions and challenges, by examining how agricultural innovation arises in four African countries, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, through agribusiness, public policies, and specific value chains for food staples, high value products, and livestock. Determinants of innovation are not viewed individually but within the context of a complex agricultural innovation system (AIS) involving many actors and interactions. The country reports are based on qualitative interviews with agribusiness representatives about their experiences in this area. The synthesis chapter preceding the country reports presents the main findings of the country reports, links common themes, and distills lessons learned.
  • Publication
    Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2009) World Bank; Food and Agriculture Organization; International Fund for Agricultural Development
    Three out of every four poor people in developing countries live in rural areas, and most of them depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. In many parts of the world, women are the main farmers or producers, but their roles remain largely unrecognized. The 2008 World development report: agriculture for development highlights the vital role of agriculture in sustainable development and its importance in achieving the millennium development goal of halving by 2015 the share of people suffering from extreme poverty and hunger. Climate change and rising food prices are reminders of the need to focus on food security and agriculture for development; and the material presented in the gender in agriculture sourcebook suggests that accounting for the different roles of women and men and gender equality in access to resources and opportunities is a necessary condition for doing so. This sourcebook is a particularly timely resource. It combines descriptive accounts of national and international experience in investing in agriculture with practical operational guidance on to how to design agriculture for development strategies that capitalize effectively on the unique properties of agricultural growth and rural development involving women and men as a high-impact source of poverty reduction. It looks at gender equality and women's empowerment, and the associated principles have the potential to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of rural poor.
  • Publication
    Agricultural Land Redistribution : Toward Greater Consensus
    (World Bank, 2009) Binswanger-Mkhize, Hans P.; Bourguignon, Camille; Brink, Rogier van den
    The main focus of this book is land redistribution. To forge greater consensus among practitioners of land reform, and to enable them to make better choices among the many options, the book describes and analyzes alternative broad paths of implementation, using examples and the detailed implementation mechanisms that were used in those examples. The objectives of this book are to review and analyze: a) the growing consensus on the importance of land redistribution; b) the historical origins of land concentration and past attempts to redistribute land; c) ongoing land reform programs, their mechanisms, achievements, and limitations; d) the wide array of objectives, mechanisms, and tools for land redistribution that remain the focus of heated debate; and e) how to develop, implement, and monitor an effective national program of land redistribution.
  • Publication
    Organization and Performance of Cotton Sectors in Africa : Learning from Reform Experience
    (World Bank, 2009) Tschirley, David; Poulton, Colin; Labaste, Patrick
    Cotton 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.
  • Publication
    Sustainable Land Management Sourcebook
    (Washington, DC, 2008) World Bank
    This sourcebook is intended to be a ready reference for practitioners (including World Bank stakeholders, clients in borrowing countries, and World Bank project leaders) seeking state-of-the-art information about good land management approaches, innovations for investments, and close monitoring for potential scaling up. This sourcebook is divided into three parts: the first part identifies the need and scope for sustainable land management (SLM) and food production in relation to cross-sector issues such as freshwater and forest resources, regional climate and air quality, and interactions with existing and emerging infectious diseases. It introduces the concept of production landscapes and analysis of trade-offs and establishes a framework for linking indicators that provide a measure of the outcomes of SLM. It then categorizes the diversity of land management (that is, farming) systems globally and the strategies for improving household livelihoods in each type of system. For the farming system types, a set of SLM principles and common but important issues for future investments are identified. The second part of the sourcebook focuses on three major farming system types and presents a range of investment notes and innovative activity profiles. The third part provides users of the source book with easy-to access, web-based resources relevant for land and natural resource managers. The resources are available in the public domain, and readers can access the web sites of various international and national agencies.
  • Publication
    Enhancing Agricultural Innovation : How to Go Beyond the Strengthening of Research Systems
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2007) World Bank
    Agricultural development depends to a great extent on how successfully knowledge is generated and applied. Investments in knowledge, especially in the form of science and technology, have been featured prominently and consistently in most strategies to promote sustainable and equitable agricultural development at the national level. Although many of these investments have been quite successful, the context for agriculture is changing rapidly-sometimes radically-and the process of knowledge generation and use has been transformed as well. It is increasingly recognized that traditional agricultural science and technology investments such as research and extension, although necessary, are not sufficient to enable agricultural innovation. As this paper will demonstrate, new perspectives on the nature of the agricultural innovation process can yield practical approaches to agricultural development that may be more suited to this changing context. This paper includes the following headings: (i) reasons for assessing the value of the innovation systems perspective; (ii) the innovation systems concept - a framework for analysis; (iii) research methodology and case study descriptions; (iv) innovation system capacity - a comparative analysis of case studies; (v) reviewing the innovation systems concept in light of the case studies; (vi) toward a framework for diagnosis and intervention; and (vii) conclusions.