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The Least Developed Countries Report 2015

Transforming Rural Economies

image of The Least Developed Countries Report 2015
This report documents the importance of the rural sector and agriculture in least developed countries (LDCs), through employment generation and economic activity. The discussion is placed in the perspective of the post-2015 development agenda, in which rural economic transformation will be vital for poverty eradication. It presents evidence on agricultural productivity dynamics in LDCs, discussing the importance of agricultural productivity for human development in rural areas, and analyzing the key elements driving agricultural productivity growth in these countries. It examines the synergies and complementarities between agricultural productivity growth and rural economic diversification. It discusses policies which need to be put in place.

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Economic diversification, non-farm activities and rural transformation

As discussed in Chapter 1, the rural population of least developed countries (LDCs) accounts for 69 per cent of the total; rural workforces are projected to increase substantially over the next 15 years; and poverty is both more widespread and deeper in rural than in urban areas. The need to increase agricultural productivity limits the potential to absorb more workers productively in the agricultural sector, or even to retain the existing workforce in the sector. The main options available are thus migration to urban areas or engagement in non-farm activities in rural areas (Lanjouw and Lanjouw, 2001). Involvement in non-farm activities can offer a pathway out of poverty – but only if there are sufficiently productive and remunerative opportunities available, and if poor households are able to take advantage of them (Egyei, Harrison and Adzovor, 2013).

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