In a rapidly changing world with a growing demand for food, what role can policies and investments play in transforming rural areas and eradicating poverty?
report-overview
Overview
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The world is changing rapidly, across urban and rural areas. Growing demand for food – driven by population increase and rising incomes – is creating opportunities and challenges for people working in rural areas, including in smallholder agriculture and in the non-farm economy.
 
Rising agricultural productivity, more jobs off the farm and migration to cities are reshaping rural life – but so too are adverse factors such as climate change, environmental degradation and other risks. 
 
Small farms continue to provide livelihoods for up to 2.5 billion people and account for up to 80 per cent of food produced in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In a fast-changing world, rural areas must transform - and rapidly - in order to be sustainably included in growing economies and to contribute to overall prosperity. 
 
But if rural transformation is essential to the development process, why have some countries been able to transform and to reduce poverty faster than others? The answer to that question is not only key to focus global efforts on eliminating poverty and hunger and to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but to inclusively and sustainably transform rural areas.
 
This report provides a thorough analysis of this complex picture and seeks to answer three key questions: 
 
  • What are the different pathways of structural and rural transformation in developing countries?
  • How do the different pathways affect rural poverty reduction and social and economic inclusion?
  • What can policy makers do to stimulate and support inclusive rural transformation?
 

But if rural transformation is essential to the development process, why have some countries been able to transform and to reduce poverty faster than others? The answer to that question is not only key to focus global efforts on eliminating poverty and hunger and to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but to inclusively and sustainably transform rural areas.          

 

This report provides a thorough analysis of this complex picture and seeks to answer three key questions:

  • What are the different pathways of structural and rural transformation in developing countries?
  • How do the different pathways affect rural poverty reduction and social and economic inclusion?
  • What can policy makers do to stimulate and support inclusive rural transformation?
report-foreword
President's foreword
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IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze visits the vegetable farm of Fanose Assafa, a small farmer living in rural Ethiopia. Assafa started her first garden with the help of an IFAD-supported small-scale irrigation project. Now Assafa is entirely self-sufficient and food secure. ©IFAD/Abate Damte

In the years since IFAD’s Rural Poverty Report was published in 2011, the world has undergone rapid changes that are altering the development landscape. The global economy has experienced major structural shifts, with the emergence of stronger markets in middle-income economies, rising urbanization and demand for food, and several low-income developing countries registering the world’s fastest growth rates. 
 
At the same time, climate change, erratic energy prices and complex and protracted conflicts have delivered a variety of shocks. Several regions have seen large-scale population displacements within and across national borders, and the social and political upheavals linked to unemployment are deepening. Despite impressive reductions in poverty and undernourishment globally, that progress has been uneven, and economic inequality across the developed and developing world alike is increasing.
 
Against this backdrop, world leaders have agreed on an ambitious development agenda that seeks to end poverty and hunger by 2030. Agenda 2030 has explicitly recognized the central role that rural development plays. Smallholders still dominate agricultural systems in developing countries and they are still key to food security. However, they also face long-standing barriers to accessing resources, technology, inputs, finance, knowledge and markets. As a result, smallholders lack resilience and the capacity to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
Therefore, while global economic changes offer the possibility of accessing new markets, expanded entrepreneurship and new kinds of livelihoods in the agrifood sector and beyond, at the level of individual rural women and men the risks and barriers are often still too great. Hence a transformation of rural areas is needed to enable rural people to capitalize on changes in the world around them, rather than be further marginalized by them.
 
A distinguishing feature of this report is that it examines rural development in the context  of the transformation of rural areas and the wider economy – i.e. rural transformation and structural transformation. By embedding rural development within rural transformation, and that within structural transformation, developments in urban and rural areas can be viewed together and seen to be interconnected.
 
This report defines inclusive rural transformation as a process in which rising agricultural productivity, increasing marketable surpluses, expanded off-farm employment opportunities, better access to services and infrastructure, and capacity to influence policy all lead to improved rural livelihoods and inclusive growth. 
 
Inclusive rural transformation is thus a critical component of inclusive growth as a whole, and of sustainable development in all its dimensions – social, economic and environmental. It is both a vision and a lens through which to interpret historical processes in rural areas across the world. 
 
Thus, this report is about transformation, but not just any transformation; it is about transformation that is inclusive and that brings rural people into the economic mainstream and the benefits of the twenty-first century economy. This report is also about choices, starting with the programmatic and policy choices of governments and local, regional and global development practitioners. A key question that they must ask is, what actions can they take to stimulate and support inclusive rural transformation?
 
Based on extensive research, this report attempts to answer this and other questions. Among the important premises of the report is that there is no natural incentive mechanism in economic transformation processes that protects the interests of marginalized groups. Inclusive rural transformation is, therefore, far from automatic. Rather, it is a choice. It does not just happen; it must be made to happen.
 
Rural transformation can lead to numerous positive developments in the lives of people and their nations, such as growth in life expectancy, improvements in education, health, water and sanitation, increased rural and urban employment opportunities, and empowerment of women and minority and disadvantaged groups. But a range of political, social, economic and environmental imbalances and inequities may occur as well. Economic transformation may be inevitable, as the world changes, but inclusiveness is a choice.
 
Countries need to take specific actions – and make specific policy choices and investments – to enable rural people to seize the opportunities and deal with the threats that come with transformation processes. IFAD’s experience over nearly four decades has shown that when rural people can organize themselves and have reliable access to land and other natural resources, technologies, finance and markets, both their livelihoods and their communities can flourish. Inclusive rural transformation can be promoted through people-centred development in which “beneficiaries” become agents of their own development, participating in decision-making, implementation and the process of rural transformation itself.
 
Action is needed to address the threats facing smallholder farmers, rural small and medium enterprises, women, youth and indigenous peoples. This report seeks to provide a solid foundation upon which those actions can be based. 
 
While rural development strategies need to be context specific, and include policy reforms, institutional innovations and investments, clearly they need to appropriately value the role of agriculture and the rural economy, and the great potential of rural people themselves as agents of inclusive transformation.
 
KANAYO F. NWANZE
President of IFAD
 
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report-introduction
Introduction
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A farmer harvests rice in Laguna, Philippines. Growing demand for food – driven by population increase and rising incomes – is creating opportunities and challenges for people working in rural areas. ©IFAD/GMB Akash

Over the past quarter century, the reduction in poverty levels has been striking. In 1990, some 44 per cent of people in developing regions lived on less than US$1.90/day.  By 2012, that proportion had fallen to 14.9 per cent, which represents over 1 billion people lifted out of extreme poverty. Most of the improvement was in Asia and the Pacific region. The most limited progress has been achieved in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite this, poverty levels in rural areas of most regions remain well above those in urban areas.
 
Rural development is one of the most effective ways to overcome rural poverty and to reduce the gap between rural and urban realities. Rural development has a direct impact on incomes and food and nutrition security. It also affects quality of life through improved education, healthcare and other critical services.
 
The introduction looks at the driving forces. It explores the connection between national economic development and rural transformation, and the links between city and farm. It also looks at the way in which governments and others can ensure that poor and marginalized rural dwellers are not left behind in the process.
Historical legacies and policy and investment choices shape the pathways, speed and results of structural and rural transformation, leading to very different inclusion outcomes in different countries. Interventions must take many factors into account, from employment, access and rights, to land and resources, finance, agrifood markets and value chains, technology, innovation, empowerment, gender equality and social protection.
 
The introduction outlines the focus of the report, its analytical framework and the regional perspective. It summarizes the content of the opening chapters, which  review progress by region, and the thematic chapters that follow. These chapters look at six critical areas for policy action and investment: employment, land and natural resources, rural finance, agricultural technology innovation, markets and value chains, and collective action. 
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Regional analysis
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Latin America and the Caribbean

Structural and rural transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean
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Why doesn’t rapid structural change always go hand in hand with fast poverty reduction?

The Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean underwent a vast rural transformation in the second half of the 20th Century. By the year 2000, some 75 per cent of people lived in towns and cities, and agriculture’s share of GDP had fallen by 40 per cent since 1980 to little more than five per cent of the region’s economy.

In some countries in the region, large estates have become corporate farms that are often big rural employers. They generate the majority of agricultural GDP, and control almost all agrifood processing.
 
Rural economies have diversified, and rural roads and communications technologies have blurred the cultural distance between rural and urban youth. Rural-urban territories have sprung up, centred on small towns and villages, creating new types of rural societies in which agriculture is still important, but no longer dominates the economic landscape. Yet there are still an estimated 15 million family farms. 
 

Learning from experience

 
Evidence from this region suggests that if a country wants to cut poverty fast, it needs to transform its national economy and prioritize smart rural development policies, investments and institutions.
 
Four countries managed to perform above the regional average on structural and rural transformation and inclusion. Why did they perform better? 
 
Over the period 2000-2012, Chile cut rural poverty by 56 per cent, Brazil by 42 per cent, while Peru and Bolivia each achieved reductions of 30 per cent. 
 
Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay reduced rural income inequality, even as it increased in most Central American countries. Targeted government cash transfers are only part of the explanation of such outcome.
 
 
 
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Asia and the Pacific

Structural and rural transformation in Asia and the Pacific
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The remarkable structural transformation of leading economies in the Asia and Pacific region is well known. Less reported is the gradual transformation of  rural areas where more than half the population still lives. Production has moved from cereals and grains to higher value products such as livestock and fisheries. Consumption patterns have shifted at the same time, from starchy staples and rice to fruit and vegetables, livestock and dairy products, and fish, sugar and oils.
 
Yet the countries with higher overall economic growth also have higher agricultural productivity and overall production growth. Countries that have achieved fast structural and rural transformation have also dramatically reduced poverty, which across the region fell from 71 per cent in 1981 to 15 per cent in 2011. But slow transformers have not witnessed the same reductions as did faster transformers in the region. Across this region of 3.8 billion people, 560 million lived on less than $1.25 a day in 2011. Poverty here is largely a rural phenomenon.
 
The cases of China, India, the Philippines and Viet Nam show that policies, institutions and investments are key to determining the speed and inclusiveness of rural transformation. In each country, land reform, basic investments in rural areas and other sectoral policies have been decisive factors.
 
Now a new set of challenges is emerging: fast transforming countries have to shift to sustainable rural development, overcoming stresses, including from land and water degradation, and economic, institutional and political constraints.
 
Countries with slow rural transformation and slow poverty reduction, on the other hand, need to focus more on improving access for the rural poor to land and credit, and boosting investments in agricultural technology and rural infrastructure.
 
 
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Africa

Structural and rural transformation in Africa
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A late starter in the development race, Africa displays diverse patterns of growth across a vast continent. Home to half the world’s fastest-growing economies over the past decade, the region has averaged 4 per cent growth and cut poverty rates from 57 per cent in 1990 to 48 per cent in 2010, a level that is relatively high compared to other regions. Schooling, health and infrastructure are improving, but still remain problematic in many countries.
 
Yet most African countries continue to wrestle with a youth bulge, small and declining manufacturing sectors, and deeply entrenched development barriers.
 
Alongside structural transformation, some rural areas are transforming deeply and rapidly. But while agricultural output and productivity are growing, crop diversification remains limited, i.e., the mix of commodities is changing only slowly, even as people eat more meat and fish, fruit and vegetables, and processed food.
 
Insecure land tenure, a lack of basic infrastructure, inadequate credit and insurance, and ethnic and gender disparities are all brakes on inclusive rural transformation.
 
Most countries that have achieved high structural and rural transformation have also cut poverty quickly, but few slow transformers have been able to do so. There’s much investment and policy work to be done.
 

Farming to survive, growing to sell

 
Projections indicate that Africa will remain predominantly rural until about 2035. Rural poverty remains deep and widespread, concentrated among young people and women. About 65 per cent of youth work in agriculture: only 16 per cent have waged jobs in the public and private sectors.
 
Agriculture accounts for 24 per cent of GDP across the region, and agribusinesses 20 per cent more, complemented by mining and services.
 
Recent increases in farm output came not from technology change leading to increased productivity, but from bringing more land under cultivation. In Kenya, land ownership is becoming more concentrated, even as the number of plots of less than one hectare has doubled to two million.
 
Yet much more food is being traded: Africa’s urban food markets are expected to exceed US$400 billion by 2030, a fourfold increase from 2013.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia

Structural and rural transformation in the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia
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The Near East and North Africa (NENA), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries that once adjoined Russia have been going through far-reaching economic and political transitions. Often reliant on natural resources, most are progressively swopping central-planning for market-driven economic policies.
 
In NENA, a population growth rate of 3.1 per cent during the period 1980 to 2010 has led to high levels of youth unemployment, a bulging informal sector and emigration.
 
Population growth averaged only 1 per cent in the former CIS. But across both regions, increasingly harsh droughts and related losses in productivity and incomes, have hampered rural transformation. In some NENA countries conflict has impoverished rural dwellers, while ill-designed subsidies and agricultural schemes failed to meet expectations. In CIS countries, state ownership has been largely undone, creating agri-businesses but also a vital small farm sector in which farming skills and support mechanisms are weak.
 
NENA is often characterized by a lack of economic diversification, uncompetitive manufacturing and a bloated public sector. One outcome presented in the report is referred to as the “three NEN ruralities:”
 
  • Prematurely urbanized countries – such as Yemen and Sudan
  • Countries positioned for progress – includes Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia
  • Countries with low urbanization and low urban-rural poverty differences – a clutch of former CIS states, previously commodity producers for the Soviet Union.
 
By 2012 agriculture accounted for just 9 per cent of Turkey’s GDP, down from 20.7 in 1985, and transition seemed to be advancing well.
 
Yet in Tajikstan, the poorest former CIS country, the rural population is growing faster than the urban population, with two-thirds of the workforce mired in low-productivity, poorly-paid jobs and 2.9 million people undernourished in 2016, up from 1.6 million in 2014.
 
Better policies to foster rural development are urgently needed across most of the region.
 
 
 
report-spotlights
Spotlights
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Social protection
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Resilience to shocks
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Gender equality and women's empowerment
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Environmental sustainability
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Institutions and governance
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Fragile situations
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Food and nutrition security
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Indigenous peoples
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Thematic analysis
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Employment and migration
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A young herder watches over his cattle at a watering point in Deck Vote village, Louga, Senegal. About 65 per cent of youth in Africa work in agriculture: only 16 per cent have waged jobs in the public and private sectors. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

A bulging youth population is most evident in sub-Saharan Africa, and to a lesser extent Latin America and the Caribbean. Africa and South/South-East Asia are likely to achieve 50 per cent urbanization by 2040, while the rest of Asia and Latin America will reach 70 per cent or more. But today, movement to cities accounts for less than half their population growth; rather, many small and medium towns are growing.
 
Migration, both rural-urban and international, is a common response to a lack of economic opportunities for young people. The further you go, the more you tend to earn. Remittances can spur rural development in source regions, including through investments in agriculture by those left behind, but it’s often the least poor who migrate furthest and whose families accrue the most benefits.
 
In some developing economies, opportunities appear stymied because ‘premature deindustrialization’ has raised fears that countries in an early stage of transformation will be unable to use their abundant labour to pursue the conventional pathways observed in Asia from agriculture via industry to a service-based economy.
 

Jobs matter

 
Rural transformation is an employment generator. Farming, non-farm rural employment (typically agricultural services, processing, distribution and logistics), natural resource exploitation, tourism services and temporary migration all provide job opportunities and can foster economic growth. But all pose challenges for the poorest, least-skilled, who are often women and disadvantaged groups.
 
Today, high levels of informal employment are likely to persist in developing economies. So creating jobs is now as important as spurring growth.
 
States must invest in rural people, technology, infrastructure, social protection and - especially - strong institutions.
The Philippines: From Rome to home
Every year, 1.5 million people leave the Philippines to find jobs overseas. They send home more than US$20 billion a year. But little of that money is saved or invested. In Mabini - known as "Little Italy" due to the number of emigrants working abroad in Italy, many big houses have been built - but most are empty. The owners cannot afford to come home. Now a financial education programme is encouraging Filipino workers abroad to invest in agricultural cooperatives in the Philippines - not only giving them a regular income but also revitalising agriculture and creating jobs back home.
 
Agrifood markets and value chains
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Women work in an IFAD-supported cashew processing factory in Viet Nam that exports to Japan, China and Taiwan. According to the report, better infrastructure encourages private investment in longer value chains. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

Food supply chains around the world are being transformed in similar ways. As people get richer, more women work, and both women and men work further away from home, people buy more processed food and eat out more often. Privatization of state retailers and market liberalization has fostered this dramatic change in many countries around the world.
 
Rural households in East and Southern Africa now buy 44 per cent of their food; in Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia and Viet Nam it is 73 per cent. Yet diets remain overwhelmingly local: in East and Southern Africa only 15 per cent of the food consumed is imported; in South Asia about 10 per cent.
 
Rising consumer demand for processed food, meat, fish, vegetables and fruit spurs retailers who develop procurement systems in which bit-by-bit big companies set stringent quality standards and create concentrated logistic and value chains underpinned by contracts. A burst of investment, jobs and revenue can flow into rural areas, though often it is the largest farms and the richest, best-educated entrepreneurs who benefit most in this process.
 

Reaching out

 
Better infrastructure encourages private investment in longer value chains, whether for transporting milled teff to markets in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia or in cold storage of potatoes to supply Delhi and Patna in India.
 
Packaged food sales are growing at 13 per cent a year in low income  countries and 28 per cent in lower middle income countries. Foreign direct investment has poured in, and local players have blossomed – though not always prospered.
 
Government policy is a critical enabler. Market access can transform the lives of small farmers. But they may need help, for example, to reach and meet the standards of international Fair Trade and organic produce markets worth US$80 billion a year; to supply large companies; or to service domestic food markets.
São Tomé: Saved by chocolate
São Tomé was once the world's biggest exporter of cocoa, but a decade ago the global cocoa price crash destroyed the industry here and desperate farmers have been clearing the forests to find alternative ways to make a living. But then the rising global demand for organic chocolate changed everything. IFAD joined forces with French organic chocolate company, Kaoka, to revive the island's cocoa industry. And it looks like chocolate might just save this island.
Rural finance
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A member of a farmers’ collective makes a group loan payment at a bank in Masaka, Uganda. Many smallholder farmers lack access to credit and payment systems. ©IFAD/Radhika Chalasani

Availability of finance and financial services are critical to the long-lasting transformation of rural livelihoods. Yet an estimated 2 billion people worldwide have no access to regulated financial services and 73 per cent of poor people do not have a bank account.
 
Smallholder farmers, rural micro and small businesses, rural entrepreneurs and wage labourers need affordable and reliable credit, payment systems, savings and deposits accounts, term or seasonal loans, micro-insurance and remittance transmission services.
 
Collectively the remittance flows are enormous: 230 million migrant workers sent an estimated US$430 billion to 500 million family members in developing countries in 2014 alone. 
 
Aided by privatization of banks and liberalization of financial services, sources of rural finance have diversified considerably since the 1980s, and microfinance has spread widely. More effort is made to lend to those who most need credit. New technologies are cutting the cost of lending. What more can and needs to be done to expand access and the quality of rural finance?
 

Inventing new kinds of finance

 
Mobile phone transfers are not the only innovation in rural finance. The search for ever more effective mechanisms continues unabated. Microfinance with fortnightly repayment is ill-matched to cropping cycles. Yet an IFAD-supported project in Bangladesh provided 10-month term loans totalling US$156 million with lump-sum repayment at harvest time and achieved a 98 per cent repayment rate.
 
Contract farming and inventory credits have been highly effective in supporting smallholders in Niger and Burkina Faso. So has home-grown community lending in Brazil, Kenya, Poland, Sri Lanka and India.
 
So-called graduation approaches, based on asset transfers accompanied by training and coaching, have proved effective in sustainably helping the poorest.
Morocco: The two-sheep solution
In a region where women still struggle to close the gender gap, Morocco stands out. In the past ten years it has enacted laws to eliminate discrimination against women and guarantee gender equality. But how do these laws make a difference in remote rural areas? It could be as simple as buying two sheep.
Agricultural technology innovation
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A scientist analyses water and soil quality in West Noubaria, Egypt. The laboratory provides farmers with the latest information about their water and soil which helps them to make informed decisions about which irrigation techniques, fertilizers and pesticides will best increase their yields. © IFAD/Marco Salustro.

Agricultural technology innovation enables both wider structural transformation and rural transformation. It is defined as a network of organizations, enterprises and individuals, which bring new products, processes and forms of organization.
 
But the agricultural innovation system, embracing research, extension services, finance, equipment and more, often delivers benefits only to particular groups, leaving the poorest trailing. Poor people and their institutions must raise their voices, just as those working on agricultural technologies must also ensure the benefits are available to poor rural people, and facilitate their access and adoption. 
 

Designing better policies

 
Dairy cows in developed countries may produce four times more milk than those in developing countries: cattle twice as much meat. Adopting exotic breeds, more cost-effective animal health care and feed supplements, as the IFAD-supported Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme in Kenya showed, can close the gap.
 
Only a few countries achieve the target of investing 1 per cent of agricultural GDP in innovation. Better incentives could spur private sector research in this area. 
 
Adoption of genetically modified crops (GMOs) has been slowed by concerns over safety and fears of dependence upon multinational companies – though it appears GMO crops could benefit smallholders.
 
Lack of political will, combined with irregular public procurement and corruption can hinder critical developments such as irrigation. Participatory, evidence-based policy-making is part of the answer. 
Cambodia: The software solution

Can software help the Cambodian Government become a major global rice exporter by 2015? A look into how IFAD and Intel have joined forces to bring expert information about seeds, fertilisers and pests to rural farmers at the touch of a button.

Land and natural resources
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Farmers carry rice out to the paddies to plant in Mali. Secure access to land reduces vulnerability to hunger and poverty. But for many of the world’s poor rural people in developing countries, access is becoming more tenuous than ever. ©Amadou Keita

To feed the world’s expected 2050 population of 9 billion, crop yields need to increase by 2.4 per cent a year – well above the current levels of 0.9-1.6 per cent. That will increase pressure to farm forests and rangelands, and add to competition for water between farms, rural dwellers and cities. When badly managed, these pressures lead to scarcity, degradation, inequalities, social action and conflict.
 
But when people have secure rights to their land and institutions work well, countries can achieve sustainable, resilient and inclusive rural transformation. That’s why over half the countries in the world are engaged in some form of land tenure reform, benefiting almost 1 billion farmers. 
 
Meanwhile, 13 per cent of the world’s forests have been designated for conservation. And water development has shifted from building massive infrastructure projects to managing demand, efficient usage, and improving water governance.   
 

Meeting new challenges

 
Between 1960 and 2000, farms got bigger in developed countries, but smaller in most low and middle-income countries as rural populations increased.
 
The average farm is just 1ha in East Asia, 2.4 ha in sub-Saharan Africa, 10.7 ha in Central America, 32 ha in Europe and 178.4 ha in the United States. 
 
Water scarcity is a growing source of conflict. Over-exploitation of aquifers – affecting 29 per cent of groundwater blocks in India, for example – calls for better policies. Construction of big, disruptive dams has slowed, but much more water needs to be redirected from agriculture to urban users.
 
In the meantime, devolution of forest management and payments for ecosystem preservation, especially in Latin America, have helped reverse declines in forest cover.
Guatemala: Bringing water to the well
In Guatemala, more than one million people are being affected by changing weather patterns. Since 2014, IFAD has been building irrigation schemes to take advantage of unused underground water streams, while restoring abandoned ones and introducing better farming practices.
Collective action and empowerment
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Huang, 50, generates income for her family by weaving in Attapeu province, Laos. Rising agricultural productivity, more jobs off the farm and migration to cities are reshaping rural life. ©IFAD/GMB Akash

Collective actions empower rural people to act together in ways that benefit them and their communities. Having their voices heard helps shape policies which address the interests of marginalized groups and individuals at the local level.
 
The report looks at five benefits of collective action and empowerment:
  • Expanded access to markets and finance
  • Enhanced access to and management of natural resources
  • Improved access to infrastructure
  • Greater access to information and knowledge
  • Strengthened voice and power in policy processes
 
Together these can help to overcome economic, social and political obstacles, including discrimination. 
 

Stronger together

 
Among topics examined, the chapter looks at ways in which land rights issues can obstruct collective action. It classifies them into free-riding, horizon problems, and portfolio issues, and suggests solutions.
 
Management of common land and common resources are typical targets of collective action. Poor management of wetlands or fisheries can lead to over-exploitation. The report considers projects that have failed, and others that have succeeded in turning the tide.
 
In the meantime, the top 300 farmers’ cooperatives in the world have a combined turnover exceeding US$1.1 trillion. One Indian milk marketing co-operative collects milk from 18,500 villages. In Kenya, 10 per cent of the population rely upon collectives, while in Morocco one cooperative accounts for a quarter of national milk supply. 
 
Time and again, examples show that by acting together, smallholders can overcome scale disadvantages to access information, technology, equipment, finance and markets. 
Uganda: Imagine your life differently
Twenty thousand families in 13 districts of Uganda are now imagining their lives differently. By creating a shared vision, husbands and wives are not only finding ways to break out of their poverty, but they are discovering the value of equality in their homes.
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Data annex
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The data table shows the key variables used in the 2016 Rural Development Report (RDR). The data covers the period 1990-2014. The key variables are:
  • the share of non-agriculture in GDP (Structural transformation);
  • agriculture value added per worker (Rural transformation); and
  • the rural poverty headcount at the country poverty line and the extreme rural poverty headcount rate at $1.25 per person per day (Social inclusion).
These variables were used to address the key research questions, test the propositions in the analysis,evaluate patterns of transformation and inclusion, and generate the country typologies.
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