51 Policies for Effective Rural Transformation, Agricultural and Food System Transition

Promoting Multi-Sectoral Approaches for Sustainable Development, Food Security and Nutrition and Poverty Reduction

Organizers: FAO, IFAD, Globor Donor Platform for Rural Development, World Bank


The structural transformation of economies is a clear pathway out of poverty and hunger when the process is characterized by inclusive productivity growth in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, and by strong linkages between sectors and between urban and rural areas. In cases however, the relative decline of agriculture pushed people and especially smallholder farmers, in low-paid informal jobs, or led to widening income inequalities between people engaged in agriculture compared with other sectors. Indeed, the paths of structural transformation and their impact on poverty and hunger are diverse, and depend on the country context and most importantly the policy environment and strategic choices made by governments. The last decades, income growth, dietary transitions, migration, demographic changes, climate change and environmental concerns signify that patterns of structural transformation have to be reassessed and policy frameworks adjusted to accommodate for new challenges and opportunities. In view of the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the side event will discuss experiences of multi sectoral policy approaches to promote rural transformation, inclusive agricultural transition and economic growth, across sectors and geographic regions. The discussion and the debate are expected to support in outlining elements for governance able to promote sustainable rural development based on integrated, balanced and interdependent decision-making mechanisms and policies.

Key speakers

Rui Benfica, Lead Economist, Strategy and Knowledge Department, IFAD

Henri-Bernard Solignac-Lecomte, Head of Unit, Europe, Middle East & Africa,

OECD Development Centre

Preeti Ahuja, Sector Manager, The World Bank

Christian Mersmann, Policy Advisor, Global Donor Platform for Rural Development

Main themes/issues discussed

The aims of the event is to share experiences of multi sectoral policy approaches to promote rural transformation, inclusive agricultural transition and economic growth, across sectors and geographic regions, and to discuss elements for governance able to promote sustainable rural development.

Summary of key points

The structural transformation does not automatically lead to reducing poverty; the structural transformation is necessary to achieve poverty reduction but it is not a sufficient element.

Rural development strategies must be context specific.

A new rural development framework should have multi-sectorial policies focusing on rural industry and service, and rural-urban linages in addition to agriculture. It should also involve multiple stakeholders such as national and local governments, the private sector, local communities and so forth.

The scale of the challenge in terms of increasing and improving jobs is immense.

By broadly envisioning agriculture as an entire food system including the whole value chain and other aspects such as nutrition, the agriculture sector can be a big engine in reducing poverty. Linking smallholders to the market system is a key.

There is a new trend of shifting from development partners to economic partners. Urban investment in agriculture is increasing, and the investment culture has changed. Donors and investors to be evolved to minimize the risks.

To bring private resources –not only financial but also technological and intellectual - in a socially and economically responsible manner is very important to face the challenges.  

Key outcomes/take away messages

The role of Agriculture – a broader food system - remains very important for the rural development.

The context is a key.

The systems, multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder approach would be a way forward as long as we keep languages simple and manage the level of complexity operationable.