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Estimating rural poverty

Dec 09, 2010

The Rural Poverty Report 2011, second in the series, published by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialised agency of the United Nations provides a coherent and comprehensive look at rural poverty, its global consequences and the prospects for eradicating it.

Read Rural Poverty Report 2011

Published by: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), 2010

Released on 6 December 2010, the report contains updated estimates by IFAD regarding how many rural poor people there are in the developing world, poverty rates in rural areas, and the percentage of poor people residing in rural areas.

Since the last Rural Poverty Report was published by IFAD in 2001, more than 350 million rural people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty.  But the new report notes that global poverty remains a massive and predominantly rural phenomenon – with 70% of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people living in rural areas.  Key areas of concern are Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Increasingly volatile food prices, the uncertainties and effects of climate change, and a range of natural resource constraints will complicate further efforts to reduce rural poverty, the report says. 

But the report also emphasises that profound changes in agricultural markets are giving rise to new and promising opportunities for the developing world’s smallholder farmers to significantly boost their productivity, which will be necessary to ensure enough food for an increasingly urbanised global population estimated to reach at least 9 billion by 2050.

Accordingly, “there remains an urgent need…to invest more and better in agriculture and rural areas” based on “a new approach to smallholder agriculture that is both market-oriented and sustainable,” the report says. 

“The report makes clear that it is time to look at poor smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs in a completely new way – not as charity cases but as people whose innovation, dynamism and hard work will bring prosperity to their communities and greater food security to the world in the decades ahead,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze, IFAD’s President.

“We need to focus on creating an enabling environment for rural women and men to overcome the risks and challenges they face as they work to make their farms and other businesses successful,” he said. 

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