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Agricultural Productivity Growth and Poverty Alleviation

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How important is agricultural growth to poverty reduction? This article first sets out the theoretical reasons for expecting agricultural growth to reduce poverty. Several plausible and strong arguments apply - including the creation of jobs on the land, linkages from farming to the rest of the rural economy, and a decline in the real cost of food for the whole economy - but the degree of impact is in all cases qualified by particular circumstances. Hence, the article deploys a cross-country estimation of the links between agricultural yield per unit area and measures of poverty. This produces strong confirmation of the hypothesised linkages. It is unlikely that there are many other development interventions capable of reducing the numbers in poverty so effectively.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agricultural and Food Economics, University of Reading, 2: Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London University, 3: Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London University, and the University of Pretoria, South Africa

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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