Knowledge for Development

Global Farming Systems Study: Challenges and Priorities to 2030

Author: J. Dixon, A. Gulliver and D. Gibbon

Date: 28/06/2006


The World Bank sought the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in evaluating how farming systems might change and adapt over the next thirty years and prepare a supporting study with the following objective: 'On the basis of a determination of the principal trends and issues affecting major farming systems in each World Bank region over the next 30 years, propose operational strategies, approaches and technologies that will contribute to significant and sustainable rural development and poverty reduction among farming system participants.'

The results of the study are summarized in a set of seven documents, comprising six regional reports and the global overview contained in this volume. This document, which synthesises the results of the six regional analyses as well as discussing global trends, cross-cutting issues and possible implementation modalities, presents an overview of the complete study. This document is supplemented by two case study reports of development issues of importance to farming systems globally. The concept of Farming Systems is described in the introduction - where farming systems are defined as populations of farms that have broadly similar resource bases, enterprise patterns, household livelihoods and constraints, and for which similar development strategies and interventions would be appropriate. The biophysical, economic and human elements of a farm are interdependent, and thus farms can be analysed as systems from various points of view. Chapters 3-8 provide an overview off the characteristics of the major regional farming systems, regional strategic priorities and maps are given for the sub-Saharan, the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean regions. Chapter 9 tackles issues like the challenge of contrasting farm characteristics, global challenges and priorities for the coming decades: achieving sustainable and productive use of natural resources, deploying science and technology, exploiting globalisation and market development, refocusing policies, institutions and public goods, and enhancing agricultural information and human capital. Chapter 10 deals with some operational implications and discusses topics like: demand-driven approaches to integrated rural development, support services and related institutions, financing instruments and assessing impact using farming systems frameworks.

Global Farming Systems Study: Challenges and Priorities to 2030 - Synthesis And Global Overview