Syndicate content

Agriculture and Rural Development

Some (Possibly Heretical) Thoughts on Agriculture

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Since the publication of the 2008 World Development Report, there has been a vigorous discussion in the development community about agriculture; today’s publication of the World Bank’s Agriculture Action Plan is a milestone in that process.  To stimulate further discussion on the subject, here are some thoughts from a garden-variety economist.

1. The oft-quoted statement, “GDP growth originating in agriculture is about four times more effective in raising incomes of extremely poor people than GDP growth originating from other sectors,” is an arithmetical point, not an economic point.  It simply reflects the fact that 75 percent of the world’s poor depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Why We Work in Development

Shanta Devarajan's picture

A visual reminder of why many of us work in development:

The schoolchildren in this picture are first- and second-graders in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They're holding their new textbooks, given to them as part of a project that distributed some 14 million free textbooks to private and public schools across the country. 

After the photo was taken, the teachers tried to take the books back to put them in the classrooms for safekeeping.  The kids refused. For many of them, this was the first time they had held a book in their hands--and they weren't about to let go of them. The Minister of Education (seen in the photo with my colleague Marie-Francoise Mary-Nelly), wanting to give the kids a chance to enjoy their new textbooks, let them keep them.

Your Comments on Africa's Successes

Shanta Devarajan's picture

The African Successes post has generated a vigorous exchange of ideas.  I appreciate receiving your comments on the study, your suggestions for success stories, and your views on development approaches that have worked and those that have not.  

ມັນເປັນໄດ້ຫຼາຍກວ່າເຂື່ອນ: 41 ປີຜ່ານມາ ຮ່ອງຮອຍປະຫວັດສາດຍັງຄົງເຫຼືອໄວໃຫ້ເຫັນ ຢູ່ລາວ

Victoria Minoian's picture

(This entry was originally published in English on Sep. 9, 2009)

 

ຕັ້ງແຕ່ໄດ້ເຮັດວຽກເພື່ອຊ່ວຍເຫຼືອວຽກງານດ້ານການສື່ສານ ແລະ ຂໍ້ມູນຂ່າວສານໃຫ້ແກ່ໂຄງການ ໄຟຟ້ານ້ຳເທີນ 2 (NT2) ຢູ່ລາວໃນຕົ້ນປີນີ້, ຂ້ອຍກໍ່ໄດ້ຟັງຫຼາຍຄົນເວົ້າວ່າ ໂຄງການນີ້ມີຄວາມໝາຍຫຼາຍກ່ວາໂຄງການພັດທະນາໄຟຟ້ານ້ຳຕົກ. ຖ້າຫາກໄດ້ອ່ານ ແລະ ສຶກສາຄົ້ນຄ້ວາ ກ່ຽວກັບການປະຕິຮູບໂຄງສ້າງຫຼາຍໆດ້ານ ທີ່ລັດທະບານລາວໄດ້ຈັດຕັ້ງປະຕິບັດ ເພື່ອດຳເນີນໂຄງການດັ່ງກ່າວ, ທ່ານຈະສາມາດເຂົ້າໃຈວ່າເປັນຫຍັງຄົນຈຳນວນຫຼາຍຈຶ່ງເວົ້າແນວນັ້ນ. ໃນມໍ່ໆມານີ້, ຂ້ອຍກໍ່ໄດ້ມີໂອກາດໄປສຳພາດກັບບາງວຽກງານ ທີ່ໄດ້ປະກອບສ່ວນອັນສຳຄັນໃຫ້ແກ່ໂຄງການນີ້ ແລະ ເປັນປະສົບການທີ່ຫຼາຍຄົນບໍ່ອາດຄາດຄິດມາກ່ອນ ແຕ່ມັນແມ່ນມີຄວາມໝາຍອັນສຳຄັນຕໍ່ໂຄງການ.

Zoellick: Protection for most vulnerable must be permanent part of financial architecture

Angie Gentile's picture

World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick. 2009 Annual Meetings, Istanbul, Turkey. Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie/World BankBank President Robert Zoellick told an overflowing room of journalists this morning that these annual meetings come at an important time for the work of the Bank Group and its members.

“The G-20 summit last week provided clear markers for the work of the World Bank. But more than 160 countries were not at the G-20 table,” he said. “These meetings can therefore ensure that the voices of the poorest are heard and recognized. This is the G-186.”

Zoellick began his remarks by expressing his sympathy for the people of Indonesia, the Philippines, Samoa and Tonga and others in the region, who have been battered by a series of cataclysmic natural disasters.

The Bank’s President told reporters that developing countries are still suffering from the global economic crisis, and it is important for the G20 to scale up support. He said the meetings offer a platform to follow up on the proposal for a crisis facility for low-income countries—critical to ensuring that protection for the most vulnerable becomes a permanent part of the world’s financial architecture.

Talking with Teeth: Micro-Planning with Community Scorecards

Darshana Patel's picture

Coming together is a process
Keeping together is progress
Working together is success

This message, written on the wall of a public building in Gureghar village in Maharashtra, India, implies the significant changes that have recently taken place. Since 2007, 178 villages including Gureghar have been part of an innovative social accountability process that has redefined relationships between citizens, service providers and local government. Building upon two decades of experience with micro-planning, the innovation in this pilot project is that micro-planning has been combined with a community scorecard process to strengthen accountability.

Partnered with the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration and the World Bank, the project was spearheaded by then CEO of the District, S. Kadu-Patil.

(The primary role of a District CEO is to administer all development project and services, such as health and education services, for the District.) The project team and the CEO invested a lot of effort to build the political will of other decision-makers and service providers. In fact, many of these functionaries were then organized into Task Forces to actually implement the process while a cadre of facilitators underwent intensive 20-day training.

In Defense of Diversity

Nicola Cenacchi's picture

Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Photo © Mari Tefre/Global Crop Diversity Trust

If you are not familiar with it, I highly recommend taking a look at the TED website. TED is a small nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It organizes conferences where people from different fields and walks of life, scientists, engineers, and politicians, can present their ideas and projects.

The talks are filmed and made available for free on their website, which now contains a vast collection of brilliant presentations and speeches, always informative and at times downright jaw-dropping (in fact, “jaw dropping” is one of the categories you can use to scan through the presentations.)

The presentation that recently caught my attention is one by Cary Fowler, about the importance of genetic diversity in agriculture. Dr Fowler is Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, whose mission is to conserve Earth’s agricultural biodiversity. Jointly funded in 2004 by FAO and Biodiversity International the Trust worked with the Norwegian Government and the Nordic Gene bank to create the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, also dubbed by the media “the Doomsday vault,” which was officially opened on February 26, 2008.

Building Commitment for Nutrition

Ashi Kathuria's picture

Imagine that after an animated discussion on nutrition, a film star commits: 'From now on, in all my movies, I will dedicate 5 minutes to the issue of malnutrition and build awareness about prevention.' or

The mayor pledges: 'I will organize awareness camps on malnutrition in all the wards of my city and will try to involve everybody.' or

A Member of Parliament promises: 'Malnutrition free villages will be created in 21 impoverished hamlets. If more money is required, we will provide it from our funds.' or

An editor undertakes: 'Every week we will provide space for the views of experts on malnutrition.' or

The University Vice Chancellor vows: 'We will start a course on health and nutrition in our university, so that we have enough trained people to deal with this problem in India.' or

An industry representative pledges: 'We will adopt 10 malnourished children every year and see to their health care, education, and other day to day requirements.'

Well, these and many more such commitments were publicly made in 21 high-malnutrition districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – two states in India where the levels of malnutrition are alarming.

Africa’s Development in a Changing Climate

Marianne Fay's picture

 
    Photo © World Bank
In step with our Nairobi launch of the World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change, we issued a news release focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa , as well as a policy booklet containing the main messages of the report for Africa and elements from the World Bank’s climate change strategy in this region.

The booklet draws attention to the urgent need to tackle the varied impacts of climate change on Africa’s agriculture, forests, food security, energy, water, infrastructure, health, and education. The continent’s natural fragility means that changes in rainfall patterns, increased droughts and floods, and sea level rise are already causing damage and affecting people’s lives.

Returning to Siberut: 30 years later, little has changed on remote Indonesian island

Tony Whitten's picture

Go anywhere after a 30 year break and you expect to see change – and you hope things will be better. Thus my wife Jane and I, together with our four children, were intrigued to see what life was like now on Siberut, the largest and most northerly of the Mentawai Islands off the west coast of Sumatra, when we visited it a few weeks ago. Jane and I had lived in a hut in the middle of the island conducting wildlife research for over two years until 1978. We wanted to see our closest friend there, Potifar Tengatiti Siribetuk, as well as other old friends, our old study area, some of the remaining traditional houses, and as many of Siberut’s four endemic species of primates as we could.

Visiting the island and the provincial capital of Padang also provided an opportunity to observe the impacts of the $1 million of grants which had focused on Siberut under the Phase 1 of the World Bank-implemented Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. These grants had followed on from an Asian Development Bank loan project (pdf) from 1992-2000 which was not a resounding success for a variety of reasons. This had itself followed on from WWF projects.


Pages