:: Vol 1 (2004), Issue 1 ::

special edition on

Agriculture’s Contributions to Economic and Social Development






Randy Stringer and Prabhu Pingali


This inaugural edition of e-JADE presents a set of seven articles that shed new light on one of the oldest issues addressed by agricultural economists: How does agriculture contribute to economic and social development? These e-JADE articles argue that investments in agriculture contribute to more than increases in production. With the proper policies and incentives, agricultural sector investments improve food security, lower rural and urban poverty, reduce inequality and enhance environmental outcomes.

Development economists in general and agricultural economists in particular have long focused on how agriculture can best contribute to overall growth and modernisation. Many early analysts (Rosenstein-Rodan 1943; Lewis 1954; Scitovsky 1954; Hirschman 1958; Jorgenson 1961; Fei and Ranis 1961) highlighted agriculture because of its abundance of resources and its ability to transfer surpluses to the more important industrial sector. Agriculture’s primary role in the transformation of a developing economy was seen as subordinate to the central strategy of accelerating the pace of industrialisation.


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