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The State of Food and Agriculture 2017

Leveraging Food Systems for Inclusive Rural Transformation

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One of the greatest challenges today is to end hunger and poverty while making agriculture and food systems sustainable. The challenge is daunting because of continued population growth, profound changes in food demand, and the threat of mass migration of rural youth in search of a better life. This report presents strategies that can leverage the potential of food systems to become the engine of inclusive economic development and rural prosperity in low-income countries. It analyses the structural and rural transformations now under way, and examines the opportunities and challenges they present to millions of small-scale food producers. It shows how an “agroterritorial” planning approach, focused on connecting cities and towns and their surrounding rural areas, combined with agro-industrial and infrastructure development can generate income opportunities throughout the food sector and underpin sustainable and inclusive rural transformation.

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Executive summary

Economic progress in developing countries since the 1990s has led to an increase of more than 1.6 billion in the number of people living above the moderate poverty line. They include 750 million rural people who continue to live in rural areas – demonstrating that rural development has been, and will continue to be, essential to eradicating hunger and poverty. This report analyses the structural and rural transformations now under way in low-income countries, their impact on food systems, and the opportunities and challenges they present to millions of small-scale food producers. It shows how an “agroterritorial” planning approach, focused on connecting cities and towns and their surrounding rural areas, along with agro-industrial development, can leverage food systems to drive sustainable and inclusive rural development. It underscores the fact that rural transformation does not automatically lead to poverty reduction or improve food security. The choices of policy-makers are critical.

English

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