Most rural development policies in third world countries have been
strongly focussed on areas with a high agricultural potential, based on
the conventional belief that highest returns to investments could here
be reached. This paper argues that a greater impact on poverty
alleviation and sustainable natural resource management can be expected
through targeting investments in less-favoured areas. Agricultural
intensification in less-favoured areas is mainly constrained by insecure
property rights, low levels of community organisation and participation,
and limited access to markets and appropriate technologies. We provide a
systematic overview of the institutional conditions and economic
incentives that are required for enhancing a process of sustainable
agricultural intensification in the highland and dryland areas of the
developing world, where almost 40 percent of the rural poor are living.
Our findings indicate that a suitable framework of local incentives
enables win-win scenarios for simultaneously improving welfare and
sustainable resource management by rural households.
Institutions, technologies and policies for poverty alleviation and sustainable resource use, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 20 pp.