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Farming Systems and Poverty

The book Farming Systems and Poverty: improving farmers' livelihoods in a changing world presents the results of a joint FAO and World Bank study which contributed to the updating of the World Bank Rural Development Strategy

Small farmers produce much of the developing world's food. Yet they are generally much poorer than the rest of the population in these countries, and are less food secure than even the urban poor. Furthermore, although rapid urbanisation is taking place in many developing countries, farming populations in 2030 will not be much smaller than they are today. For the foreseeable future, therefore, dealing with poverty and hunger in much of the world means confronting the problems that small farmers and their families face in their daily struggle for survival.

Investment priorities and policies must take into account the immense diversity of opportunities and problems facing small farmers. The resources on which they draw, their choice of activities, indeed the entire structure of their lives, are linked inseparably to the biological, physical, economic and cultural environment in which they find themselves and over which they only have limited control. While every farmer is unique, those who share similar conditions also often share common problems and priorities that transcend administrative or political borders.

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