Moving agriculture and the rural sector forward
Sustained reduction in hunger and poverty remains at the top of the unfinished development agenda of the Asia and the Pacific region.
Despite population pressure and resource constraints, the region has committed under the MDGs to halve the proportion of the population who are hungry and poor by 2015 and eventually eliminate hunger and poverty altogether. To achieve these goals requires an important contribution from agriculture and the rural sector while simultaneously protecting the sustainability and integrity of the natural resource base.
The recent financial and economic difficulties in developed country markets suggest a need to shift from export-based growth and orientation in Asia and the Pacific region towards more balanced strategies that also emphasize domestic markets and intra-regional trade.
In the context of natural resource scarcity and constraints imposed by degradation, sustainability issues and global warming, future contributions to poverty eradication and food security from agriculture must be propelled by broad-based technical change across commodities and resource regimes.
Attention must focus on coping with the urgent threat of water scarcity in addition to land scarcity, degradation and other constraints. Agricultural and rural sector stakeholders must acquire the capacity to respond to changing markets and participate in the mainstream of development.