Agriculture and Food Security: Pre-Evaluation Review of DFID Policy

John Wyeth, Steve Ashley{jathumbnail off}{jcomments off}

This report considers whether the DFID agriculture policy remains relevant in the light of the recent food crisis and where and why consideration might be given for changes to be made. It is not an evaluation2 and it does not suggest a new policy but aims to provide direction and identify issues and some alternative ways in which the policy might evolve, especially in its relationship with food security.

The policy focussed on the role that agricultural productivity and growth plays in poverty reduction. It did not repeat the analysis of livelihoods and food security that had been covered in earlier papers3 but complemented them by emphasising the benefits of concentrating on areas that had most growth potential.

The mechanisms through which growth reduces poverty were identified as being by increasing income directly in a sector where most poor people live; by increasing the supply, and thereby decreasing the price, of food; by providing labour intensive employment in rural areas; and through the linkages agriculture generates with other economic sectors. The policy provided support for farmers through macro level policies, more effective public spending and focussing on market opportunities, agricultural finance, new technologies, land and property rights as well as reductions of national and international market distortions.