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Document Abstract
Published: 2008

Working to break the cycle of hunger and poverty

Experiments indicate no active rise from poverty without increasing agricultural productivity
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No country has managed a rapid rise from poverty without increasing agricultural productivity. This paper notes that agricultural productivity in many parts of the developing world is stagnant with small-scale impoverished farmers often lacking access to appropriate technologies, efficient farming practices, and links to markets.

 
This paper reviews the work of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its partners to enhance the complete agricultural value chain while protecting farmers’ natural environments. The document shows that the work is focused on small-scale farm households, which often means it is focused on women, bearing in mind that women wellbeing directly affect nutritional outcomes for children.

Some lessons for concerned stakeholders can be drawn as follows:

  • learning from the successes and challenges of the original Green Revolution (GR) is of great importance
  • indeed, GR dramatically increased food production but suffered from an over-reliance on chemical fertiliser and poor water management
  • getting crops to markets can be a formidable task; therefor, linking farmers to new and existing markets and providing them with access to information to support their decision-making is extremely required
  • providing poor farmers with access to improved inputs is not sufficient alone; training and support networks that enable farmers to make better choices is essential
  • it is necessary to support the creation of crops that enhance nutritional value to combat chronic vitamin deficiencies; a range of techniques, from traditional breeding to the newest biotechnologies can be utilised here
  • research and policy analysis related to agricultural development would be critical in evaluating the impact of various approaches and assessing the effects of developed strategies
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