The overwhelming majority of people living in poverty are small-scale farmers and agricultural workers. To reach the UN Millennium Development Goals of halving world poverty by 2015, agricultural development and enhanced productivity must play a key role.
Can agriculture in the developed and developing countries progress in harmony with each other? The international debate points to conflicts of a political and commercial nature, as witnessed by the recurring failures to reach agreements on agricultural trade in the WTO. But there are also golden opportunities to reconcile the interests of rich and poor countries.
After decades of declining world market prices for agricultural products, and heavily regulated and protected food markets in the industrialized countries, the last few years have witnessed a recovery of food prices. A number of factors – such as increased demands from China and other rapidly growing Asian economies, competition from biofuels and adverse climatic factors – are responsible for this development, which represents both threats and opportunities.
Taking Sweden’s ”Policy for Global Development” as the point of departure, the purpose of this book is to highlight linkages and conflicts of interest between the developed and developing countries in agriculture, trade and environmental management, as well as the potential for enhanced coherence.