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Document type: article
Prices of food have almost doubled over the past year, and are now as high as they were in the mid 1970s. Uncomfortable for those consuming more food than they produce, but not unprecedented. Recent price hikes followed bad harvests in Australia and other areas, and the implementation of various ill-conceived biofuel initiatives also drove food prices up. Moreover, rising incomes in countries such as China and India have increased demand for sophisticated foods, particularly for meat. But these developments should be applauded: the 2008 World Development Report celebrates the positive role of the agricultural sector in advancing economic development and alleviating rural poverty. If we are going to take poverty alleviation and economic growth in Africa seriously, and if we are going to feed the estimated 9 billion people on the planet by 2050, then agricultural development in developing countries is a necessity. As a feel-good radio topic it is best avoided, but high prices can play a useful role in this respect.
© 2008 IDP. This article has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license.
Agriculture and Rural Development