One in five of the world's population live in extreme poverty, with a per capita income of less than a dollar a day. At least two-thirds of these people live in rural areas, where farming is the dominant source of income. At the same time, the poorest non-farm households spend a relatively large share of their budgets on food. What happens to agricultural policies is thus vitally important for the world's poor, whether or not they work in agriculture. How can agricultural trade reform serve their needs? What are the benefits of agricultural trade liberalisation, and what are the potential dangers?
The papers in this proceedings publication tackle different aspects of these fundamental questions. Collectively, they demonstrate that agricultural trade reforms offer an important route to higher incomes for many of the world's poor, but may expose some who were formerly shielded from world markets. They set policymakers the challenge of ensuring that developing countries can reap the benefits of open markets, while retaining the flexibility to help those who are unable, or will take time, to adjust to a new environment. At the same time, OECD countries have a responsibility to consider the effects that their own policies have on the world's poor. This publication therefore raises a number of important issues that policymakers in both OECD and non-OECD countries and economies will need to respond to in the context of the Doha Development Agenda.
This publication is part of the OECD's on-going co-operation with non-member economies around the world.
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