Development Vol 58.2/3 explores rural transformation in the context of the Agenda 2030

Volume 58.2/3 explores what process of rural transformation will likely emerge from the context of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development: whether this transformation will be driven by agro-business and therefore succumb to its predatory nature towards land, resources and rights or whether it will be centred around rural and grassroots communities’ interests and demands.

Small holder and rural agriculture is overly characterized by several stereotypes about their efficiency and productivity.  Yet smallholder farmers produce the 70 % of the world’s food yet they occupy less than a quarter of its farmland. Solutions to boost their productivity are increasingly designed and offered by actors from outside these rural communities. Intensification and industrialization (labelled as sustainable) are considered viable pathways for transformation of the sector. This mirage of structural transformation is leading many developing countries towards a premature and rushed tertiarisation of their economies; and some traditional agriculture driven economies (for instance in Europe) are losing their food sovereignty. Development is considered to move linearly from the rural to the urban areas where rural means backwardness and the urban means progress and modernity. Who benefits from this narrative?

Rural modernity means leveraging the value of the rural space where innovation, transformation and sustainability meet and generate energy for locally driven transformation processes, driven by the voice, the experience and the traditional knowledge of small-holder, pastoralists and other peasants and grassroots people.  

The response suggested by this journal issue is to build on locally rooted and driven processes that promote agro-ecological diversification and food sovereignty. Rural transformation must be centred on the de-intensification of cultures and livestock breeding rather than on sustainable intensification and technology driven climate smart agriculture, which are central to the agenda that is silent on rights and increasingly reliant on the corporate sector for both its design and implementation.

Table of Contents | Editorial

Free to View articles:

Understanding and Addressing Inequalities in the Context of Structural Transformation in Africa: A Synthesis of Seven Country Studies by Dzodzi Tsikata

Agricultural Growth, Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries by Katsushi S. Imai, Wenya Cheng & Raghav Gaiha

Roles of Rural Areas in Sustainable Food System Transformations by Molly Anderson

The Untold Success Story of Agroecology in Africa by Frédéric Mousseau

Rural Modernity: An oxymoron or a new vision? Interview with Andrea Ferrante, by Angela Zarro

About Development

Development is the flagship journal of the Society for International Development (SID) published for over 50 years. With alternative perspectives on civil society, development policy and community based strategies for livelihoods, gender and social justice, Development provides readers with sharp, critical views and in-depth analysis on the challenging issues of today's rapidly changing world.  Browse volumes & issues (Springer website)

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