Agriculture and Rural Development
I grew up in a small village in South-Western India, which is known for evergreen forests, wildlife, and spectacular landscapes. That was in the 1970s and 1980s. My interests in forests began then, as I spent many hours wandering off into the woods on my way back from school. When I was six years old, my father bought five acres of pristine forest land and converted them into a coffee plantation. He wasn’t the only one. In just three decades, much of the forest around where I grew up has been either converted to crop lands or cleared for logging.
This loss grieves me. Although I have worked on a broad range of issues as a professional economist, my concerns for forests and the environment remain high. In a recent note, I’ve tried to show the complex links between deforestation, climate change, and food security with a simple diagram. The note can be easily downloaded and is meant for students.
The National Solidarity Program (NSP) is a community-led reconstruction and rural infrastructure initiative. The program has made significant achievements in empowering communities, improving community relations, and increasing public faith in the system of government.
- South Asia
- Labor and Social Protection
- Social Development
- Law and Regulation
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- National Solidarity Program
- Irrigation and Rural Livelihoods
- International Development Association (IDA)
- Community Development Councils (CDCs)
Protectionism is on the rise all over the world, thanks or should we say “no thanks” to the global economic crisis. Last November, G-20 leaders pledged to fight protectionism. Yet, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO), 18 out of these 20 economies have since taken measures to restrict trade. With the global economy struggling to recover, political pressures demanding protection from import competition to sustain domestic employment are intensifying. It is likely to prove right the old adage that the only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history. One lesson from the experience of the 1930s that is currently most relevant is that raising trade barriers deepens and prolongs recession.
|The expense of operating outboard motor boats means that visits to each community are few and far between.|
In December, the project was just beginning to get going in the provinces. The agriculture workers were looking to the RDP to help restore agriculture extension services. Practically speaking, this means purchasing small boats, outboard motors, fuel, or rehabilitation of offices. At the Ag offices, I was told about the series of dead outboard boat motors lining one wall – including provenance and whatever series of incidents had rendered them inoperable.
The Nutrition Development Marketplace was held in Dhaka on Wednesday August 5th. Twenty-one civil society organizations from across South Asia won grants from an $840,000 award pool funded by the South Asia Region Development Marketplace (DM). The winners received up to $40,000 each to implement innovative ideas on how to improve nutrition in their respective countries.
Titled “Family and Community Approaches to Improve Infant and Young Child Nutrition,” the competition was designed to identify some of the most innovative ideas to improve nutrition, focusing especially on children under two years of age and pregnant women.
South Asia has experienced high economic growth during the last decade. The region, however, still has both the highest rates and the largest numbers of undernourished children in the world. While poverty is often the underlying cause of child undernutrition, the high economic growth experienced by South Asian countries has not made an impact on the nutritional status of South Asian children.
Why South Asia has the largest numbers of undernourished and micronourished children in the world?
South Asia’s undernourishment problem has many numbers of factors, including the following: Low birth weight, infant and young child feeding practices, poor household hygiene, and status of women in society.
This video, A Call for Action, highlights some of the challenges and opportunities of undernutrition in the South Asia region with a focus on India.
The cows were judging me. The unforgiving Indian summer sun was beating down on the crop field where I stood, and though I desperately wanted to listen the soft-spoken villager who was explaining the trials and accomplishments of his agriculturally centered village, my attention was pulled to the cattle several meters away. Perhaps I was dehydrated, perhaps a little woozy, but I am not proud to say that I could have sworn those grazing beasts were eyeing me, watching me wither under the intense gaze of the mid-afternoon sun. “Weakling,” They seemed to say.
And perhaps I was.
From my brief time spent in this rural, South Indian village, I had seen people deal with far more than the uncomfortable heat. These villagers like many throughout the rural areas of South Asia, worked long and tedious hours in their fields. Heat was not simply a discomfort, but could mean less water, less grass to feed the cattle, fewer crops, and, as a result, the inability to sustain spending on education, healthcare, and sanitation.
|Photo © Rachel Block/World Bank|
Reading the newspapers last January when Russia suspended the supply of gas to the rest of Europe—with Eastern European countries hardest hit—I could not help but think that the region might be better off with fewer sub-zero days during winter.
On a trip to the Balkans last year, I partook of the colorful summer bounty of peppers and tomatoes enjoyed throughout southern Russia and Southeastern Europe.
|"Dear Diary: August 27th, 2008. Sarajevo. Best tomato of my life. If this reckless bus driver careens off the mountainside, at least I’ll die satisfied."|
What a contrast from the pickles and cabbage my great-great-grandparents subsisted on in Poland and Lithuania! Though I was raised “properly”—with a taste for pickled cauliflower and herring—I could see why the northern reaches of the region might appreciate a longer growing season and more sunny, tomato-ripening days.
Studying (and contributing to) projections of global food supply in the changing climate over the next century, I see precipitous drops in yields projected in already-poor swaths of Africa, and in densely populated and cultivated regions in South and East Asia. But many have concluded that, globally, there will be enough food to go around—thanks to the expanding role of Europe and Central Asia as the breadbasket of the world—and assuming free and fair international trade in food.
A recent report by the World Bank, “Adapting to Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia,” argues that these outcomes can by no means be taken for granted.
The New York Times recently reported on the political crisis in Niger, where the President’s dismissal of the Constitutional Court (which had ruled against his proposal to abolish term limits) is being con
The Bangladesh economy entered FY10 in a position of strength, notwithstanding some pretty tough global circumstances. Good recovery in agriculture, a sustained growth in exports and remittances, and a steady growth in services helped achieve an estimated overall growth of 5.9 percent in FY09, compared with 6.2 percent in FY08. A decline in international commodity prices driven by the global recession and an improvement in domestic food supplies brought inflation down from 10 percent in FY08 to an estimated 7 percent in FY09. Rice prices have remained stable too at nearly 40 percent below the peak reached in April, 2008. The economy has shown reasonable stability in terms of most other macroeconomic indicators. The external current account has been in a large surplus; the exchange rate has been stable; foreign exchange reserves have reached record high levels of nearly $7.5 billion; fiscal balances have been contained; and private credit growth has remained decent.
This is all good news but it doesn’t mean Bangladesh goes totally unscathed by those tough global circumstances.