Agriculture Fast Facts
- Agriculture represents about 30% of GDP in Africa and South
Asia; about 20% in East Asia & Pacific; and about 10% in Central
Asia, Latin America & Caribbean.
- Agriculture's share of GDP, for methodological reasons, is
probably understated in most developing countries because of rural/urban
difference of the purchasing power of the national currency.
- The 1980-1993 agricultural growth rate was about 4% in Middle
East & North Africa, and East Asia & Pacific; about 3%
in South Asia, about 2% in Latin America & Caribbean and Africa;
and negative in Central Asia.
- Agricultural products account for 30% of exports in Africa,
Latin America & Caribbean; about 20% in South Asia and East
Asia & Pacific; and 5% in Middle East & North Africa.
(Agriculture's share in exports is markedly higher in several
regions if oil exports are excluded)
- Rural people make up 70% of total population in South Asia,
Africa, and East Asia & Pacific; about 50% in Middle East
& North Africa; and about 30% in Central Asia, Latin America
- Of the world's 1.3 billion people living in poverty, some
70% are rural people.
- Of the 800-900 million undernourished people in the world,
the majority is again living in rural areas.
- Rural growth is widely shared, with private and competitive
agriculture and agribusiness as the main engine of growth. Investments
in agriculture therefore achieve a strong multiplier effect which
stimulates rural and urban economies alike. The historical take-off
of newly industrialized economies on high growth trajectories
was usually preceded by a phase of vigorous agricultural growth.
- Family farms and non-farm enterprises offer ample remunerative
employment to men and women. Only the rural economy based on agriculture
has the capacity to absorb rapidly growing age groups of job entrants.
- Agriculture is the prime warden of the environment. Unless
racked by poverty and hunger, farmers manage soils, water, forests,
grassland, and fisheries in a sustainable manner. Diminishing
rural poverty means improving conservation of natural resources.
(World Bank: From Vision to Action in the Rural Sector, 1996,
and other sources)
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