Agricultural Development Economics

Beyond Agriculture: the promise of the rural economy for growth and poverty reduction

In January 2006, the Agricultural and Development Economics Division of FAO summoned experts from around the world to a workshop to discuss topics relevant for rural development and rural poverty alleviation in a rapidly changing and globalizing world.

The main topics covered in the workshop included:

- changes in the rural development paradigm;
- changes in food systems and markets and their significance for rural development;
- emigration from rural areas and rural development;
- fiscal policies for rural development; and
- the rural development strategies of international development banks.

The objectives of the workshop were to:

1. Understand how changes in "drivers" (such as globalisation and changes in food systems) may cause a shift in the prevailing Rural Development Paradigm, and what may be the regional characteristics of such a paradigm.
2. Raise awareness of a poverty reduction/rural development strategy which goes beyond the narrow confines of agriculture.
3. Examine rural household strategies for getting out of poverty.
4. Produce guidelines or a checklist of issues to be considered in guiding rural development policy.
5. Learn how the paradigm shift translates research and policy directions.

©FAO/Desmond Kwande