Exploring Integrated Assessment Approaches
Edited by Desmond McNeill, Ingrid Nesheim and Floor Brouwer
Chapter 2: Agriculture and Sustainable Development in Developing Countries in a Changed Global Context
Joachim von Braun1 INTRODUCTION The sustainability and advancement of agriculture in low-income countries is hampered by the complex interaction of new and emerging challenges with old ones: the repeated global food crises and financial crises, climate change, and increased competition for natural resources under population and economic growth pressures. The threats to the world food system have severe implications for the food security and the livelihoods of the poor, not only in the short run, but also in the long run. Agricultural productivity growth supported by significant investments in research and development (R&D) is crucial for addressing these risk factors, enhancing food security, accelerating pro-poor growth, and building resiliency in developing countries. Public R&D investments, however, have been stagnating since the mid-1990s and the gap between rich and poor nations in generating new technology remains (Pardey et al., 2006). From 1992 to 2006, funding for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which is a major contributor to agricultural innovation in partnership with national research systems, increased by only 2 per cent per year (Von Braun et al., 2008b). The current resources are hardly enough to work at the frontiers of new science. The recent financial crunch has further constrained the availability of financial capital for agriculture in the developing world. Scientific advances in agricultural productivity are critical for providing sustainable pathways out of poverty for the still large number of poor and food-insecure people. Three-quarters of the poor in developing countries continue to live in rural...
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