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Skill Needs and Policies for Agriculture-led Pro-poor Development
Poverty reduction is the mantra of development policies today. Three out of every four people in the developing world live in rural areas, either directly or indirectly depending on agriculture. Agriculture-led development strategies need to be at the core of any poverty reduction strategy, as agroindustralisation, i.e. the transition towards more commercialised agriculture systems, can bear positive effects for the poor, such as off-farm employment creation and stimulated economic growth in general. In order to reap these potential benefits, it is crucial to address the specific skill needs that occur at different levels of agroindustrialisation. Currently, agricultural education and training (AET) systems fail to respond to these challenges, which is reflected in a high fragmentation of AET systems in the developing world and a lack of donor initiatives in middle-level training projects. Evidence from developing and developed countries reveal that skill strategies need to be integrated into a coherent rural development strategy that aims at addressing the important constraints to agriculture-led development, which are widespread, especially in low developed economies.