To lift and keep millions out of poverty requires that smallholder
agriculture be productive and profitable in the developing world.
Do we know how to make this happen? Researchers and practitioners
still debate how best to do so. The prevailing methodology, which
claims causality from measures of statistical significance, is
inductive and yields contradictory results. In this book, instead
of correlations, Isabelle Tsakok looks for patterns common to cases
of successful agricultural transformation and then tests them
against other cases. She proposes a hypothesis that five sets of
conditions are necessary to achieve success. She concludes that
government investment in and delivery of public goods and services
sustained over decades is essential to maintaining these conditions
and thus successfully transform poverty-ridden agricultures. No
amount of foreign aid can substitute for such sustained government
commitment. The single most important threat to such government
commitment is subservience to the rich and powerful minority.
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