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Agriculture and Rural Development

An update on Bhutan’s economy

Yoichiro Ishihara's picture
Accelerating the reform momentum after the 2018 elections is key to consolidating and furthering Bhutan’s development
Accelerating the reform momentum after the 2018 elections is key to consolidating and furthering Bhutan’s development. Credit: World Bank

Bhutan is one of the smallest, but fastest-growing economies in the world.
Its annual average economic growth of 7.6 percent between 2007 and 2017 far exceeds the average global growth rate of 3.2 percent.
This high growth has contributed to reducing poverty: Extreme poverty was mostly eradicated and dwindled from 8 percent in 2007 to 1.5 percent in 2017, based on the international poverty line of $1.90 a day (at purchasing power parity).
Access to basic services such as health, education and asset ownership has also improved significantly.
The country has a total of 32 hospitals and 208 basic health units, with each district hospital including almost always three doctors.
The current national literacy rate is 71 percent and the youth literacy rate is 93 percent.
The recent statistics on lending, inflation, exchange rates and international reserves (Sources: RMA, NSB) confirm that Bhutan maintained robust growth and macroeconomic stability in the first half of 2018.  

Gross foreign reserves have been increasing since 2012 when the country experienced an Indian rupee shortage.
Reserves exceeded $1.1 billion, equivalent to 11 months of imports of goods and services, which makes the country more resilient to potential shocks.
The nominal exchange rate has been depreciating since early 2018 (with ngultrum reaching Nu. 73 against the US dollar in early November).

Poor sanitation is stunting children in Pakistan

Ghazala Mansuri's picture
A nutrition assistant measures 1 year old Gullalay’s mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) at UNICEF supported nutrition center in Civil Dispensary Kaskoruna, Mardan District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan.
With a stunting rate of 38 percent, Pakistan is still among the group of countries with the highest rates of stunting globally and the pace of decline remains slow and uneven. In Sindh, for example, things have worsened over time, with one in two children now stunted. Credit: UNICEF

More than one in every three children born in Pakistan today is stunted.

Child stunting, measured as low height for age, is associated with numerous health, cognition and productivity risks with potential intergenerational impacts.

With a stunting rate of 38 percent (Demographic & Health Survey 2018), Pakistan is still among the group of countries with the highest rates of stunting globally and the pace of decline remains slow and uneven.

In Sindh, for example, things have worsened over time, with one in two children now stunted!

The policy response to this enormous health crisis has been almost entirely centered on interventions at the household level—reducing open defecation (OD), improving household behaviors like child feeding and care practices and food intake.  

A recent World Bank report, which I co-authored, suggests that a major shift is this policy focus is required for significant progress on child stunting.

The report begins by showing that over the past 15 years Pakistan has made enormous progress in reducing extreme poverty, with the poverty rate falling from 64 percent to just under 25 percent in 2016.

This has improved dietary diversity, even among the poorest, and increased household investment in a range of assets, including toilets within the home.

This has, in turn, led to a major drop in OD, from 29 percent to just 13 percent. Curative care has also expanded, with the mainstreaming of basic health units and the lady health worker program.

Five takeaways for better nutrition in South Asia—and beyond

Felipe F. Dizon's picture
In many developing countries, governments and health authorities face the dilemma of how to feed their growing population while ensuring their food is nutritious. Credit: World Bank

Together with more than 1,500 academics, scientists, and policymakers, we participated last week in the Rice Olympics.
The event—formally known as the International Rice Congress (IRC)—provides a unique window on the latest innovations and policies about the globe’s most important staple crop.
For many, rice may not seem worth the cost of a conference trip. Yet, half of the world’s population depend on it as their main supply of nutrients and energy.  
Rice isn’t just a crop,” said Rajan Garjaria, Executive Vice President for Business Platforms at Corteva Agriscience. “It’s a way of life. A place can be made or broken, based on their rice crop.
The Congress discussed a breadth of topics, but what stood out the most is that rice can be instrumental in making people healthier and in sustaining the planet.
The South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI), a World Bank partnership that aims to improve food and nutrition security across the region, participated in the Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems and Diets and presented its latest research on linkages among food prices, diet quality, and nutrition security.  
Overall, the event underscored how governments and health authorities in many developing countries face the dilemma of how to feed their growing population while ensuring their food is nutritious and discussed relevant strategies to transform nutrition security challenges into opportunities.

Budding entrepreneurs in rural Bihar

Vinay Kumar Vutukuru's picture

Agricultural entrepreneurship

Rahul Kumar is a 25-year-old community extension worker at Jeevika in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. He set up an agri-business enterprise six months ago and it’s turned out to be quite a success. Kumar earned more than INR 180,000 ($2,700) in barely one month during the rainy season crop cycle, also known as Kharif crop in India. What’s more, he sold quality seeds and other agriculture inputs to more than 150 farmers during that period, helping them save over INR 50,000. “Whatever I could earn as a Village Resource Person (VRP) over a period of one year, I managed to earn that much as an agri-entrepreneur in just one month,” said Kumar.
A three-way partnership between JEEViKA (a Government of Bihar supported program for economic empowerment), Syngenta Foundation India (a civil society organization working towards enhancing farmers’ incomes) and the National Institute of Rural development & Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR), an academic institution helped Kumar and his farmer friends achieve a remarkable turnaround in their fortunes.
In this partnership, NIRDPR provided training to the budding entrepreneurs under the overall technical support of SFI, who provided on-the-ground hand-holding and mentoring support. JEEViKA provided the institutional platform from where promising local youths were identified, selected and incubated to work as entrepreneurs. The community organizations, in many cases, also provided the initial credit for seed capital to these entrepreneurs to start their agri-business ventures. 

Pathal Ram, a small farmer from the same village said, “If I could get good quality seeds and other inputs at my home, what is the point of going to the market? It saves my time and money. I could use this time in my field for better cultivation.”

Afghanistan: Learning from a decade of progress and loss

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Afghanistan: Learning from a decade of progress and loss

In Afghanistan, the past decade saw remarkable progress, as well as reversals and lost opportunities.

The overall macroeconomic and security context in Afghanistan since 2007 can be broken into two distinct phases, pre- and post- the 2014 security transition, when international troops handed over security responsibilities to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
The pre-transition phase was marked by higher economic growth (GDP per capita grew 63 percent relative to its 2007 value) and a relatively stable security situation.

Since 2014, growth has stagnated, falling below rates of population growth, and the security situation continues to deteriorate. With the withdrawal of most international troops and the steady decline in aid (both security and civilian aid) since 2012, the economy witnessed an enormous shock to demand, from which it is still struggling to recover.

Similarly, welfare can be characterized into two distinct phases.

چگونه از پیشرفت ها و ناتوانایی های یک دهه گذشته در افغانستان آموخت

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
چگونه از پیشرفت ها و ناتوانایی های یک دهه گذشته در افغانستان آموخت

افغانستان در یک دهه یی گذشته شاهد پیشرفت های زیاد بوده اما در عین زمان با عقب گرد های نیز رو برو شده و فرصت های را نیز از دست داده است.
در کل، وضعیت اقتصاد بزرگ و امنیت افغانستان از سال ۲۰۰۷ میلادی به بعد را میتوان به دو مرحله متمایز تقسیم کرد: قبل و بعد از انتقال مسولیت های امنیتی در سال ۲۰۱۴، زمانیکه نیرو های بین المللی مسوولیت های امنیتی را به نیرو های امنیتی ملی افغانستان سپردند.
مرحله قبل ازانتقال مسولیت های امنیتی شاهد رشد بلندتر اقتصادی (در سال ۲۰۰۷ تولید ناخالص سرانه ۶۳ درصد رشد نمود) وضعیت امنیتی نسبتاً پایدارتر بود. از سال ۲۰۱۴ به بعد رشد اقتصادی رو به رکود بوده که پایین تر از میزان رشد جمعیت در این کشور است و همچنان وضعیت امنیتی با گذشت هر روز وخیمتر گردیده است. بعد از خروج بخش بزرگی از نیروهای بین المللی و کاهش دوامدار کمک ها در بخش امنیتی و ملکی بعد از سال ۲۰۱۲، وضعیت اقتصادی ضربه محکم و بزرگی را متحمل شد که  اکنون تلاش ها برای بیرون رفت از آن آدامه دارد.
هم  زمان با این، رفاه عامه را نیز میتوان به دو بخش متمایز دسته بندی  کرد.

څنګه په افغانستان کې د تیر یوه لسیزی د لاسته راوړنې او تللې فرصتونو څخه زدکړو

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
څنګه په افغانستان کې د تیر یوه لسیزی د لاسته راوړنې او تللې فرصتونو څخه زدکړو

افغانستان په تېره یوه لسيزه کې د پرمختګونو شاهد و خو په ورته مهال د شاتګ ځيني موارد يې هم درلودل او فرصتونو يې هم له لاسه ورکړي دي.
په ټوله کې، کولاۍ شو د افغانستان ستر اقتصادي او امنیتی وضعیت له ۲۰۰۷ کال راهيسې پر دوو پړاوونو و ویشو:  ۲۰۱۴ کال کې د امنیتي مسوولیتونو له لېږد څخه وړاندې او وروسته، کله چې نړیوالو ځواکونو په افغانستان کې امنیتي مسوولیتونه افغان ځواکونو ته وسپارل.
د امنيتي مسوولیتونو له لېږد وړاندې پړاو کې د لوړې اقتصادي ودې شاهدان وو (۲۰۰۷ کال کې د يو کس ناخالص عاید ۶۳ سلنه وده وکړه) امنیتي وضعیت په نسبي ډول پایدار و. خو له ۲۰۱۴ کال نه راهيسې اقتصادي وده مخ پر ځوړ وه چې د دغه هېواد د وګړو د ودې له کچې څخه هم ټيټه ده او همداراز د هرې ورځې په تېرېدو امنيتي وضعیت ترینګلی کېږي.
له افغانستان څخه په زیاته کچه د بهرنيو نړیوالو ځواکونو وتل او ۲۰۱۲ کال کې په پوځي او ملکي برخو کې په دوامداره توګه د مرستو کمښت،  اقتصادي وضعیت له سخت حالت سره مخ کړ چې تر اوسه يې د ژغورولو لپاره هڅې روانې دي.
په ورته مهال، عامه سوکالي هم کولی شو چې پر دوو جلا برخو یې ډلبندي کړو.

وضعیت افغان های بیجا شده چگونه است؟

Christina Wieser's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
Afghans represent the world’s largest protracted refugee population
فامیل های عودت کننده افغان بمنظور ثبت نام به دفتر کمیشنری عالی سازمان ملل متحد در امور پناهنده گان  در کابل مراجعه میکنند. عکس: شرکت مشورتی رومی/ بانک جهانی

بزرگترین شمار مهاجرین جهان را افغانها تشکیل میدهند در حالیکه انان نیز در عین زمان بیشترین کسانی در طی این قرن هستند که دوباره به ذات گاه (کشور خود) بر میگردند.
از ۲۰۰۲ الی ۲۰۱۷ میلادی، در حدود ۷ میلیون مهاجرافغان دو باره به کشور خود عودت نموده، که بیشترین رقم این عودت کنندگان شامل انعده افغانهاست که از ایران و پاکستان برگشته اند.
در حال حاضر، عودت کنندگان تقریباً یک- پنجم حصۀ نفوس تخمینی این کشور را تشکیل میدهند.
همزمان با این، گسترش نا امنی و درگیری های مسلحانه بطور روز افزون سبب  افزایش شمار بیجا شدگان داخلی در افغانستان گردیده است.
شرایط دشوار کنونی، موجودیت کُتله بزرگ از بیجا شدگان داخلی و رقم بلند عودت کنندگان در کشور فشار زیادی را بالای چگونگی ارایه خدمات دولتی وارد ساخته و همزمان میزان رقابت را برای دسترسی به فرصت های اقتصادی و کاریابی در میان بیجاشدگان داخلی و بقیه نفوس شهرها افزایش داده است.
هم اکنون افغان ها در شرایط فوق العاده دشوار اقتصادی زندگی می کنند. آمار سالهای ۲۰۱۶ و ۲۰۱۷ نشان میدهد که بیشتر از نصف نفوس این کشور در زیر خط  فقر زندگی میکنند، و بسیاری دیگر انان در معرض آسیب پذیری فقر قرار د ارند. بمنظور حمایت از افغانها در مناطق فقیر و آسیب پذیر، نیاز است تا تدابیر همه جانبه در راستای فراهم سازی کمک های بشردوستانه و انکشافی روی دست گرفته شود. 
روی همین ملحوظ مسؤلین و سیاست گذاران همواره با پرسش های زیادی مواجه میشوند. 

د بې ځایه شویو افغانانو وضعیت څرنګه دی؟

Christina Wieser's picture
Also available in: English | دری
Afghans represent the world’s largest protracted refugee population
هېواد ته د بېرته راستنېدونکو افغان کډوالو کورنۍ په کابل کې د کډوالو په چارو کې د ملګرو ملتونو د عالي کمېشنرۍ دفتر ته د نوم لیکنې په هدف مراجعه کوي. انځور: د رومي مشورتي شرکت/ نړیوال بانک

افغانان د نړۍ د کډوالو لویه برخه جوړوي، په داسې حال کې چې هغوی په ورته وخت کې د دې پيړۍ په ترڅ کې تر ټولو زیات شمیر کسان دي چې بیرته خپل ټاټوبي ته ستنیږي.

له ۲۰۰۲ څخه تر ۲۰۰۷ پورې شاوخوا ۷ میلیونه افغان کډوال بیرته خپل هیواد ته ستانه شوي چې د دې راستانه شویو افغانانو لویه برخه له ایران او پاکستان څخه ستانه شوي دي.

دم مهال، راستانه شوي کسان د دې هیواد د اټکل شوي نفوس شاوخوا یو پر پنځمه برخه جوړوي.

په ورته وخت کې، د ناامنیو پراخیدل او ورځ تر بلې د وسله والو شخړو زیاتوالی په افغانستان کې د کورني بې ځایه شویو د زیاتوالي لامل شوی دی.

اوسني ستونزمن حالات، د کورني بې ځایه شویو لویې برخې شته والی او په هیواد کې د راستانه شویو کډوالو لویه شمیره د دولتي چوپړتیاو د وړاندې کولو پر څرنګوالي زیات فشار وارد کړی او په ورته وخت کې یې د اقتصادي او کار موندنې فرصتونو د لاسرسۍ لپاره د کورني بې ځایه شویو او د ښارونو پاتې نفوس تر منځ د سیالۍ کچه زیاته کړې ده.

اوسمهال افغانان په فوق العاده ستونزمنو اقتصادي شرایطو کې ژوند کوي. د ۲۰۱۶ او ۲۰۱۷ کلونو شمیرې په ډاګه کوي چې د دې هیواد د نفوس له نیمایي زیاته برخه د بیوزلۍ کرښې لاندې اوسیږي او زیاته نوره برخه یې د بیوزلۍ د زیان لیدنې په درشل کې ده. په بیوزلو او زیان لیدونکو سیمو کې، له افغانانو څخه د ملاتړ په موخه اړتیا ده، څو د بشر غوښتنې او پراختیایي مرستو د چمتو کولو په برخه کې هر اړخیز تدابیر په پام کې ونیول شي.

له همدې کبله مسئولین او سیاست جوړوونکي تل له زیاتو پوښتنو سره مخامخ کیږي.

How are displaced Afghans faring?

Christina Wieser's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Afghans represent the world’s largest protracted refugee population
Afghan returnee families are arriving at a UNHCR registration office in Kabul. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Afghans represent the world’s largest protracted refugee population, and one of the largest to be repatriated to their country of origin in this century.

More than seven million refugees returned to Afghanistan between 2002 and 2017, mainly from Iran and Pakistan.
Afghan returnees now make up as much as one-fifth of the country’s estimated population.
At the same time, conflict-induced population displacement within Afghanistan has sharply increased due to the escalation of insecurity across the country. 
In an already difficult context, large-scale internal displacement and returnees from abroad have strained the delivery of public services and increased competition for scarce economic opportunities for both the displaced and the rest of the population.
Afghans are living under difficult economic conditions. More than half of all Afghans lived below the national poverty line in 2016-17, and many more are vulnerable to falling into poverty.

To support struggling communities through scarce humanitarian and development assistance is challenging but necessary.
But policymakers struggle with many questions.