Strategic alliances and alignments are key to making trade in agriculture work, for all
In many of the world’s poorest countries, the majority of the population depends on agriculture for food and for income. So for those working to alleviate poverty in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), addressing how land is being used is a given.
Low yields, lack of acreage, pests and irrigation difficulties are just a few of the issues limiting people from making full use of a landscape’s potential. But there are also factors on the farming flipside that, when addressed, can benefit impoverished cultivators and a nation’s economic prospects.
“Trade in agricultural products is one of the most significant ways we can work for poverty reduction in LDCs. It enables economic growth and the structural transformation of economies,” said Coordinator Simon Hess of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), which works with LDCs to improve agriculture and agro-processing for better trade.
Governments have been and are addressing poverty from the land use and the trade angles of agriculture, but fruitfully linking the two approaches is another matter.
“Agricultural transformation is a priority in African LDCs. But efforts to increase productivity and develop competitive agricultural value chains are often constrained by bottlenecks at the farm or post-harvest level, which can result from, or exacerbate, misalignments between agriculture and trade policies,” said Trade Policy Consultant Ishrat Gadhok of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“There needs to be greater alignment, and FAO is focusing its trade-related work in Africa on that policy coherence,” she added.