This study addresses the role of agricultural policies in raising incomes in developing countries. Higher incomes are essential for sustained progress on the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1), which calls for the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, and includes a specific target of reducing by 50% between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day. The aim is to identify ways in which the appropriate set of policies may vary according to a country’s stage of development. A synthesis volume will also be published for policy makers. With more than two-thirds of the world’s poor living in rural areas, higher rural incomes are needed to sustain poverty reduction and reduce hunger. This volume sets out a strategy for raising rural incomes which emphasises the need to create diversified rural economies with opportunities within and outside agriculture. This means adopting policies that facilitate rather than impede structural change and integrate agricultural policies within the overall mix of policies and institutional reforms that are needed. By investing in public goods, such as infrastructure and agricultural research, and by building effective social safety nets, governments can reduce the pressures related to less efficient policies such as price controls and input subsidies.
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