Poverty, Gender, and Institutional Arrangements
1. General Introduction
1.1 Background and research problem
Agriculture and agribusiness remain fundamental instruments for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in many developing economies. In agriculture-based economies such as in Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture generates 29% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on average and employs 65% of the labour force (World Bank, 2007). Together, agriculture and agribusiness account for nearly half of the GDP in Africa (World Bank, 2013). Today, about 1.4 billion people live on less than USD $1.25 a day (UN, 2012). The majority of these poor are found in countries with agriculture-based economies. Over 75% of them depend on agriculture for their livelihood and live in rural areas. Promoting agriculture therefore remains imperative to meeting the MDG goal of halving poverty and hunger. Raising agricultural productivity is particularly crucial if agriculture is used as a basis for economic growth (World Bank, 2013). Growth in agricultural productivity can be achieved by improving the competitiveness of agricultural products in international, regional and domestic markets; especially for high-value horticultural crops. In the recent past, the intensification and commercialization of smallholder agriculture in Africa has been identified by many government and development agencies as a key means for delivering accelerated growth in agriculture, which is critical to meeting MDGs in Africa (Wellard, 2011). The comparative advantage of the commercialization of smallholder farmers over subsistence production therefore presents a strong justification for its promotion while seeking equitable distribution of benefits and costs accrued from this...
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