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Topic: Markets & Trade

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Increasing Cropping System Diversity Balances Productivity, Profitability and Environmental Health

One of the key challenges of the 21st century is developing ways of producing sufficient amounts of food while protecting both environmental quality and the economic well-being of rural communities. Over the last half century, conventional approaches to crop production have relied heavily on manufactured fertilizers and pesticides to increase yields, but they have also degraded water quality and posed threats to human health and wildlife. Consequently, attention is now being directed toward the development of crop production systems with improved resource use efficiencies and more benign effects on the environment. Less attention has been paid to developing better methods of pest management, especially for weeds. Here we explore the potential benefits of diversifying cropping systems as a means of controlling weed population dynamics while simultaneously enhancing other desirable agroecosystem processes. We focus on crop rotation, an approach to cropping system diversification whereby different species are placed in the same field at different times.

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Globalization and development in sub-Saharan Africa

By: Jomo Kwame Sundaram with Oliver Schwank and Rudiger von Arnim

This paper critically reviews the impact of globalization on sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) since the early 1980s. The large gains expected from opening up to international economic forces have, to date, been limited, and there have been significant adverse consequences. Foreign direct investment in SSA has been largely confined to resource—especially mineral—extraction, even as continuing capital flight has reduced financial resources available for productive investments. Premature trade liberalization has further undermined prospects for the economic development of SSA as productive capacities in many sectors are not sufficiently competitive to take advantage of any improvements in market access.

 

 

 

 

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Agricultural cooperatives and globalization: A challenge in future?

Globalization is one of the greatest strategic challenges for agricultural cooperatives. Globalization has increased significantly over the last decade, and despite financial crises and recession in many parts of the world globalization will likely continue — albeit with less force than before. Cooperatives have specific challenges of globalization. In some areas, cooperative challenges have been solved. Critical issues such as the use of foreign raw materials and production abroad are now a part of business development in several large cooperatives. Foreign members are also increasingly common, still not without challenges. In other areas, however, more structural and fundamental problems persist. Here major changes in the organization of cooperatives are required if all advantages of globalization are to be exploited. Danish agriculture has for decades been characterized by a high market share for cooperatives and a structure which to a high degree has been export and globally oriented, indicating no specific problem concerning globalization of cooperatives.

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Making the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy coherent with development goals

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aims to promote agriculture throughout the EU by increasing farmers’ incomes and supporting the provision of public goods such as the environment. It is funded from the European Commission (EC) budget and accounts for roughly 40% of total EC expenditure. It is divided into two pillars. Pillar 1 includes both direct payments to farmers and market management measures. Pillar 2 focuses on improving the structural and environmental performance of agriculture and on promoting local/rural development. Pillar 2 requires Member State co-financing.
The EU has recognised that making development policy in isolation is not sufficient. Its commitment to Policy Coherence for Development seeks to ensure that all policies, not only development assistance, promote growth in developing  countries. Any decision on CAP reform options must, therefore, be analysed against development goals.