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News Date: October 01 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 1, CMC – A new United Nations reports says economic growth is not enough to eliminate poverty in rural areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, urging governments to develop targeted policies and investments for agricultural development.

The report also urged governments to correct historic inequality experienced by millions of people across the region.

“With the region’s poorest people living in rural areas, the Rural Development Report 2016 demonstrates the need for a far more comprehensive and holistic approach to economic development in order to eradicate poverty and ensure prosperity for millions of people,” said Kanayo F.Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

“The report makes it clear that investing in rural and agricultural development means investing in the whole economy,” Nwanze said

IFAD said the report titled “The Rural Development Report 2016: Fostering Inclusive Rural Transformation”  a “rallying call topolicy makers and development practitioners to win the global war against poverty.”

In the report, leading thinkers analyzed the experiences of rural development in over 60 developing countries, 16 of them in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Although millions of people in the region have left poverty behind over the last few decades, inequality remains extremely high in the region and one quarter of the population still lives in poverty,” said Joaquín Lozano, IFAD Director for Latin American and the Caribbean.

“To change this situation, we have to start in the rural areas where poverty is more pervasive,” he added.

The report establishes that to enable Latin America and the Caribbean to overcome poverty, inclusive rural transformation needs a comprehensive approach that goes beyond just increasing agricultural productivity.

The report urges that rural people get access to land, infrastructure, health, education and finance, and contribute to establishing stronger local, regional and national institutions.

According to the report, over the past few decades, great strides had been made to overcome the traditional urban-rural dichotomy.

For instance, the report says agriculture is no longer the only economic activity in rural areas, where more and more families are combining farming and non-farming activities to make a living.

The report also says cultural differences between rural and urban populations, especially among the youth, are blurring; and the divide between urban and rural areas is also blurring, as rural communities grow into medium-sized cities and more people live between ruraland urban areas.

“This complex reality represents opportunities, as well as challenges, that require policymakers and development practitioners to change their approach to rural poverty issues,” the report says.

Additionally, the report says that policies and investments need to bring poor, often marginalized, rural people into the economic mainstream “so that rural development is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.”

“If we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of eliminating extreme poverty and hunger, rural areas need to be transformed,” Nwanze said.

“But we know from this report that the process is not automatic,” he added. “It is a choice governments need to make and t is a choice that is becoming increasingly urgent. The future prosperity of people and nations depend on it.”

News Source: Antigua Observer

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Post Author: Nelzine Brown

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