Agriculture is a critical sector for poverty reduction. The majority of chronically poor households are engaged in agricultural activities, either as smallholders or labourers. The main barriers for chronically poor farm households to escape poverty include limited access to quality land, water, farm equipment, livestock and human capital. Building and protecting these assets is critical. Agricultural research and development needs to be flexible and diverse, emphasising sustainability and indigenous knowledge and placing the priorities of the poorest farmers at its core.
This policy brief, based on a CPAN Policy Guide: Meeting the Challenge of a New Pro-Poor Agricultural Paradigm: The Role of Agricultural Policies and Programmes, makes the case for a new agricultural paradigm for extreme poverty reduction that focuses on asset building, asset protection, employment and increasing the productivity of assets through environmentally sustainable technical innovations. This contrasts to the current paradigm, which stresses increasing agricultural productivity through technology led transformation including modern seeds and agrochemicals which characterise the Green Revolution approach.