For more than a decade, the proportion of internationally supported public investment directed at agriculture and the rural sector in developing countries has been declining. Moreover, this is occuring at a time in which the process of globalisation is changing patters of trade and investment, placing agricultural producers and communities under tremendous pressure to adapt in order to survive. Hunger is still prevalent. Within this context World Bank sought the assistance of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in order to evaluate how farming systems might change and adapt over the next thirty years. The study concentrates on: food security; poverty reduction; economic growth.The study incorporates in depth reviews of regional rural and agricultural systems and livelihoods. At a global level however, the following challenges and priorities are outlined:Achieving more sustainable and productive use of natural resources, including:Greater focus on improvements in the sustainability of natural resource useRequirement for recapitalisation of soil fertilityImprovement in water resources managementIncreased capacity to respond to climate changesDeploying science and technology for poverty reduction. A major challenge in the the coming decades will be to generate technologies that contribute to increases in agricultural production and improvements in livelihoods in those areas where the potential for agriculture is lower. Over the long term there must be suspicion of relying on intensive agriculture and technologies that have inherently limited sustainability.The study outlines various sustainable, pro-poor technologies. Science and technology may be deployed for poverty reduction by:Developing focused technologies through participatory research and developmentIncreasing average crop yields in areas of high potentialIncreased labour productivity in low potential and low population density areasBiotechnology and safeguards. Biotechnology offers a great potential for the customisation of new varieties of cash and food crops to specific farm systems and problems. The customisation of varieties, particularly those that can cope with abiotic stresses prevalent in low potential areas, has the potential to benefit the poor, if adequate safety standards are appliedFocus by small farms on labour intensive or nich cash cropsExploiting globalisation and market development while protecting vulnerable farmers, including:Focus by small farms on labour intensive or niche cash cropsSatisfaction of household food security needs during the transitionSupport for the role of the private sector - particularly small enterprisesEnabling environment for market developmentRefocusing policies, institutions and public goods, including:Equitable, secure, transferable and flexible resource user rightsSustainable provision of infrastructure to poor farming systemsIrrigation management concentrated upon small-scale farmer managed schemesFurther agricultural policy reforms and stronger meso-level institutionsTargeted safety netsEnhancing agricultural information and human capital, including:Wide availability of agricultural information, particularly to smallholdersBroad, systems-oriented, training of agricultural professionals and farmers [authors]

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Cross-sectoral enabler
Governance and planning
Agriculture and forestry
CTCN Keyword Matches
Community based
Soil moisture conservation techniques
Water resource assessment
Urban infrastructure development
More efficient train system