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close this bookAid to Agriculture: Reversing the Decline - Food Policy Report (IFPRI, 1993, 24 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
View the documentPayoffs to Investment in Agriculture
View the documentRole of Aid in Agricultural Investment
View the documentChanging Patterns of External Assistance to Agriculture
View the documentTrends and Outlooks for Major Donors
View the documentDeveloping-Country Responses
View the documentReasons for the Decline
View the documentProspects for the Future
View the documentConclusions


International development initiatives go through fashions, which change rapidly in our globally linked "information society." These fashions can create interesting and useful new ideas, but they also can be dangerous when they undermine the foundations of appropriate long-term strategies. Such is the case with the recent decline in attention by aid agencies and developing-country governments to agricultural development initiatives.

This report addresses the downward trend in agricultural development assistance and indicates why the promotion of agricultural growth remains critical for many developing countries. It identifies what needs to be done to reverse these trends.

Total investment in agriculture is what matters most. But because external assistance is a large share of the total agricultural investment budget of many developing countries, this report focuses discussion on aid. And as developed countries adjust priorities for aid spending, they send signals to policymakers in developing countries too.

This report was prompted by accumulating indications that external assistance to agricultural development in developing countries has declined since the early 1980s. Such a decline would be justifiable if their food situation were improving, their rural poverty were diminishing, and they were becoming more capable of meeting their needs for public goods essential for agricultural growth. But in many developing countries the food situation is deteriorating, rural poverty is increasing, and agricultural growth is stagnating. This report examines why there has been a shift in development policies.

Many individuals and institutions provided helpful advice and information and comments on earlier drafts of this report. They include Guenter Gruner of the European Community; Michel Petit of the World Bank; Wilhelm Suden of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ); Thomas Engelhardt and Hans-Wilhelm von Haugwitz of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fhnische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ); Stuart Callison and John Stovall of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Michael Lipton of the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex); and Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Nurul Islam, Stephen Vosti, and Peter Hazell of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Cornelia Weevers of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Diana Paolella from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provided some data on agricultural development assistance. DorSati Madani, while at IFPRI, provided excellent research assistance to the study.

This report is drawn from a study undertaken by IFPRI entitled "Underrated Agriculture: Increasing Need but Declining Aid for Agriculture in Low-Income Countries."1 IFPRI gratefully acknowledges financial support of the Federal Republic of Germany through the GTZ for the study on which this report is based.

1. D. Puetz, J. von Braun, R. Hopkins, D. Madani, and R. Pandya-Lorch, "Underrated Agriculture: Increasing Need but Declining Aid for Agriculture in Low-Income Countries" (International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C., 1993, mimeographed).