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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Eradicating extreme poverty: what is the role of agriculture?

Rejaul Karim
Rejaul KarimSouth Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)Nepal

Sorry for being late to see the post, particularly when the deadline is already over! 

 

Just quick and small submission.

The subject matter is precisely over interrelation of extreme poverty and the possibility of playing a role by agriculture, however, as Ms Egal placed the question, the term 'agriculture' needs to be clarified mainly because crop-based agriculture is directly linked with land whereas. land fragmentation and landlessness are increasing at an alarming rate, particularly in South Asia.

As Colin Clerk estimated of 300 work days or I. Singh estimated about 3 hectares of land required to absorb labour of an average family, rarely or minimum they exist in South Asian agriculture. I suppose that poses the difficult question whether agriculture has any role to play for eradicating (extreme) poverty of this majority population. 

 

And the second submission is related to the first. As both the estimation linked to necessarily the adequate job opportunity in agriculture. Except little in fisheries and livestock, crop agriculture cannot ensure 300 working days for a labour if not we are talking about value chain development in agriculture for the sluggish season with PPP model.

In terms of extreme poverty, I sense that it not only depends on the availability of jobs but also the rate of the average payment an agricultural labour gets and that as well depend on the supply of labour. Whatever the case is, labour has to be provided with multiple option and capacity to choose for the better to earn more which would lead naturally alleviation of the poverty caused by lesser or no-income

Last but not least, talking about agriculture, historically big farmers avail better options and opportunity having least risk. However, smallholders are at risk always and they are the most vulnerable group. Appropriate mechanisation for the fragmented landholdings and market linkage with adequate input with logical price may help enhancing the gap between input and output in agriculture that again may help making the agriculture profitable for the smallholders, without which only subsistence agriculture cannot free them from poverty.

 

By the way, contract farming or industrial farming may transform the smallholders into virtual landless who require an employment elsewhere and nobody knows that leasing the small piece of land would create enough income for the family of the smallholder! And that invites another submission that agriculture alone is not sufficient to eradicate the rural poverty!

 

Thank you all for the valuable discussion. Enjoyed a lot!