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Abstract

Without renewed attention to sustained agricultural productivity growth, most small farms in developing countries will become increasingly unviable economic and social units. Sustained agricultural productivity growth and poverty reduction will require progress on a number of fronts, most importantly increased public goods investments to agriculture; a policy environment that supports private investment in input, output, and financial markets and provision of key support services; a more level global trade policy environment; supportive donor programs; and improved governance. Subsidies, if they are focused, appropriately conceived, effectively implemented, and temporary, can play a complementary role but should not – based on both the Asian and African evidence presented here – be seen as the primary engine of growth. Most of these challenges can be met through country-led agricultural investment strategies that mobilize the political will to adopt the policies and public investments which substantial evidence demonstrates have the greatest chances of 5 driving sustainable pro-poor agricultural growth.

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