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Agricultural Diversification for the Poor – guidelines for the practitioners

This study treats diversification as a differentiated form of agricultural development and recognizes its role to spur sustainable growth in the rural sector. The principle purpose of this study is to outline practical ways for implementing diversification activities.

After briefly outlining the changes in the external environment that influence the process of diversification and reviewing background literature on the rationale and process of diversification, a six-point structure for describing key operational guidelines for practitioners is established: 1) feasibility, 2) policy, 3) infrastructure and markets, 4) research, extension, and training 5) private sector and supply chains, and 6) natural resources.

Drawing from past diversification initiatives especially in the Bank, lessons and functional guidance for future initiatives are described. These typically relate to a multicomponent approach involving specific investment areas (for example, irrigation, infrastructure, and research systems) that are discussed within the six-point structure. Throughout the paper, emphasis is particularly on how the diversification process can be made pro-poor with minimum risk involved. The paper closes with a list of key investment areas to assist diversification.

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