The Least Developed Countries Report 2015

Transforming Rural Economies

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This report documents the importance of the rural sector and agriculture in least developed countries (LDCs), through employment generation and economic activity. The discussion is placed in the perspective of the post-2015 development agenda, in which rural economic transformation will be vital for poverty eradication. It presents evidence on agricultural productivity dynamics in LDCs, discussing the importance of agricultural productivity for human development in rural areas, and analyzing the key elements driving agricultural productivity growth in these countries. It examines the synergies and complementarities between agricultural productivity growth and rural economic diversification. It discusses policies which need to be put in place.

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Gender-based patterns and constraints in rural development

As noted in Chapter 1, women make up around half of the agricultural labour force of the least developed countries (LDCs), a proportion that has increased progressively over time in all three geographical subgroups. Rural women play a pivotal role in ensuring household food security and nutrition, particularly through cultivation of home gardens, and can increase production and food security through improved agroecological practices and crop diversification. They can also be important agents of rural economic diversification, and key players in vibrant micro-entrepreneurial activities such as artisanal agroprocessing, which have significant potential to be developed into viable enterprises. Their economic and social empowerment also yields critical intergenerational benefits, helping to make the next generation better fed, healthier and better educated, and thus better equipped to contribute to the economy and society (FAO, 2011; World Bank and ONE, 2014).

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