That Africa has become a net importer of food and of agricultural products, despite its vast agricultural potential, is puzzling. Using data mainly for the period 1960-2007, this report seeks to explain Africa’s food-trade deficit since the mid-1970s. The core finding is that population growth, low and stagnating agricultural productivity, policy distortions, weak institutions and poor infrastructure are the main reasons.
Given the rapid expansion of the internet and the increasing number of users, including in the global South, the full potential of online platforms for promoting inclusive consultation of issues of high global interest is certainly not yet realised. An online discussion is being organised to share views and perspectives on how online platforms could be used more creatively and effectively to share experiences on a key area where information and lessons learned through various interventions from around the world are generally dispersed, that is the area of monitoring women’s land rights.
The objective of the online discussion is therefore twofold: (a) engage a collective reflection on ways of optimising the use of online platforms in efforts to promote equitable and sustainable natural governance and social justice; and, (b) to share experiences on approaches to monitoring women’s land rights.
Pakistan has great potential in agriculture. About 27 percent of the total 79.6 million hectares of the country is under cultivation. Agriculture contributes about 24 percent of the GDP and employs 47 percent of the labour force. Most subsectors of agriculture have either remained static or have declined during the last three decades, with the exception of livestock. Therefore, there is considerable scope for improvement in production and in the processing of primary output. The World Bank, working in partnership with local and international collaborators, including the Investment Centre of FAO, has identified key areas that require priority interventions if the agricultural sector is to address the challenges of rural poverty, and maximize its contribution to export growth and national development. These areas are:
• Agricultural research and extension
• The seed sector
• Water resources
• Rural finance
This document outlines in detail the rationale for an intervention as well as the possible investment areas to support the Government of Pakistan in each subsector. Potential interventions that the Bank could champion are summarized below for each of these areas. The Bank appreciates that it is important that it work closely with all relevant stakeholders, and in particular, the National Agriculture Forum, in addressing the bottlenecks that are impairing the growth prospects of Pakistan’s agricultural sector.