The prospect for agricultural growth.

Ruttan VW
In: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. Economic and demographic change: issues for the 1980's. Proceedings of the Conference, Helsinki, 1978. Vol. 1. Liege, Belgium, IUSSP, 1979. 85-113.

This paper discusses: 1) current projections of the impact of population and economic growth on food demand; 2) historical sources of growth in food production; and 3) nature of uncertainties with agricultural production. Current projections show an increasingly widening gap between food production and demand in developing market economies (DMEs) as a group for the next several decades. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reported that by 1990, staple food deficit of DMEs will amount to 70-85 million metric tons (Table 1 and Figure 1) as compared to the 12 million metric tons deficit in the mid-'70's. These projections however are not predictors of the future, but extrapolations of the implications of current trends. Nevertheless, it is obvious that DMEs would have great problems financing food imports without compromising other development objectives. The remaining years of the century must be aimed at developing and implementing more effective agricultural development strategies than have been available before. Literature on agricultural development may be grouped into 6 general approaches: 1) the frontier model; 2) conservation; 3) urban industrial impact; 4) diffusion; 5) high payoff input, and; 6) induced innovation models. A review of these models and of technical changes during the last 2 decades show that there is a need for a continuing reallocation of research resources and of development investment favorable to the agricultural section and rural areas. The problems of agricultural development of DMEs cannot be explained adequately in terms of a Malthusian race between food production and population. DMEs are faced with serious trade-offs between meeting food needs of an increasing population and improvements in the quality of life of its constituents. Development of institutional changes which will provide balance between contribrution to growth and participation in the fruits of growth may severely strain an already fragile political system. (Summary in FRE)

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