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Agricultural and Rural Development

Overview

The environment surrounding agricultural and rural development has been diversifying because of such factors as the rapid advance of globalization, climate change, skyrocketing food prices, growing demand for biofuels, changing food preferences as personal incomes rise, the expanding participation of the private sector, and global competition for farmland. As in many developing countries, farmers account for the majority of the population and three-fourths of impoverished people live in rural areas. Rural residents in developing countries are most affected by these changes.

Among the 17 goals of the SDGs, the most important is "End poverty." According to The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, issued by the United Nations, the number of people living in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 per day, signifi cantly decreased over the past 25 years. Almost half of the population in developing countries was categorized as extremely poor in 1990, while the ratio dropped to 14% by 2015. However, this decrease was mainly due to economic growth in East Asia; in fact, over 800 million people are still living in extreme poverty. Notably, around 80% of these extremely poor people are living in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa today. On the other hand, while self-suffi ciency rates for major grains have improved somewhat and the urban middle class is growing in such regions as South America and Southeast Asia, urban and rural disparities exist. In these regions, there is a need to devise ways to narrow the increasing economic gap between urban and rural areas.

The second goal of the SDGs that comes after ending poverty is "End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture." Consistently providing people with the food that they need (food security) is the foundation for economic and social stability and an important policy issue. However, the food security of many developing countries is easily affected by due to such factors as insuffi cient capacity of government in planning and implementation, underdeveloped agricultural infrastructure, low levels of production technology, and inadequate distribution systems that threaten the food security of citizens.

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