Agriculture can play two potential roles in wider economic growth, fundamental increases in productivity and earnings) and/or multiplying and spreading the benefits of primary growth drivers through an economy. Growth drivers include exports of tradables and increased production of foods (both tradables and non-tradables).Non-tradable staple foods have particular importance in poor rural economies as they are important to the real incomes of large numbers of poor net food consumers and small scale net producers, and they tend to have high positive growth linkages and low leakages. Increased production of non-staple horticultural and livestock products for domestic consumption are important as growth supports where these are semi-tradeables or non-tradeables, but are only effective in the context of an economy benefiting from other growth drivers. Consideration of the contributions of different types of agricultural production in the context of wider national growth processes allows the contributions of different types of smallholder agricultural development to be placed in the context of different types of economy. Three broad types ofeconomy are identified – countries with minerals, coastal countries without minerals, and land locked countries without minerals. Challenges and opportunities facing the development of smallholder production of different agricultural products are also identified.
FAC Research Paper No. 11, December 2008, 37 pp.