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WDR 2008: About the Report

World Development Report Archives

World Development Report 2008

In the 21st century, agriculture continues to be a fundamental instrument for sustainable development and poverty reduction. Three of every four poor people in developing countries live in rural areas—2.1 billion living on less than $2 a day and 880 million on less than $1 a day—and most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Given, where they are and what they do best, promoting agriculture is imperative for meeting the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty and hunger by 2015 and reducing poverty and hunger for several decades thereafter. Agriculture alone will not be enough to massively reduce poverty, but it is an essential component of effective development strategies for most developing countries.

With the last World Development Report on agriculture completed 25 years ago, it is necessary to redefine how agriculture can be used for development, taking account of the vastly different context of opportunities and challenges that has emerged. To do this, the Report—Agriculture for Developmentaddresses three main questions:

  • What can agriculture do for development? Agriculture has effectively served as a basis for growth and reduced poverty in many countries, but many more countries could benefit if governments and donors were to reverse years of policy neglect and remedy their underinvestment and misinvestment in agriculture.
  • What are effective instruments in using agriculture for development? They include increasing the assets of poor households, making householders—and agriculture in general—more productive, and creating opportunities in the rural nonfarm economy that the rural poor can seize.
  • How can agriculture-for-development agendas best be implemented? By designing policies and decision-making processes suited to each country’s economic and social conditions, mobilizing political support, and improving the governance of agriculture.

This year’s Report marks the 30th year the World Bank has been publishing the World Development Report.

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