Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 02:35:09 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Is rural poverty invisible?

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Alison Small :
If an estimated 500 million smallholder farmers at a conservative estimate, produce 70 percent of the food we eat, why are they still so invisible in many countries?
Governments, development agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector have been working for decades on rural development in developing countries but still rural areas lag far behind cities and outlying areas in terms of infrastructure, services, social and economic development, notwithstanding the contribution that rural producers make to supplying us with food. In the United States the vote for President Trump was heavily supported by disheartened voters in rural areas while India is singular for having a high turnout amongst rural voters.
In most developing countries, rural producers are especially vulnerable to extremes of climate, drought followed by flooding, and other weather related issues, along with restricted services of almost every kind. Not by coincidence do we find that three-quarters of the world's 836 million people living in extreme poverty are found in rural areas.
Smallholder farmers continue therefore to be largely invisible, notwithstanding our dependence on the food and other goods they produce. Its a paradox that appears to have become an inevitability. What you don't see, doesn't affect you.
In developed countries we worry about the rise of beggars on the streets, who make us feel uncomfortable as we step around them to enter our favourite cafe, bank or shop, and sometimes we offer them a coin or something to eat or drink. But the poor in rural areas, barely affect us. Perhaps subconsciously we think, they are living on the land, they can produce their own food, whereas seeing beggars in urban areas surrounded by concrete is perhaps more identifiable as poverty.
How many tourists visit rural areas, how many people actually witness rural poverty in developing countries, and if they do, perhaps the problem seems so entrenched that it appears intractable. The rural poor are largely off our radar, even off the radar of many governments it would appear. They exist, we exist but we seem unable to bridge the divide effectively.
Development agencies can point to hundreds of millions of dollars spent in projects and programmes aimed at improving the conditions of the rural poor, schools, shelter, wells for water, the provision of planting materials and other assistance to farmers, including significant assistance to rural women, women's groups, women farmers, as well as access to extension and even some limited banking services. The fact is that distance, entrenched poverty, cultural biases, and poor governance, exacerbate the rural-urban divide. The irony is that rural poverty increases the vulnerability of governments to instability, terrorism and economic vulnerability because poverty can easily be exploited and the poor manipulated. But if we are seeking solutions to feed a growing world population projected to reach 9.8 billion people by 2050, the problem is fundamental to human survival. We help the food producers, the majority of them in rural areas and smallholders, we help ourselves, we also add to political stability and economic prosperity. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious, and the measurement of progress to achieve the goals is a hugely expensive development process of its own, but are real efforts being made by governments or is this just lipservice to the UN and for the UN to show some sort of progress without effecting any systemic change in the way resources including goods and services are divvied out by governments? The Agenda 2030 vision and commitment are that no one will be left behind. It was adopted by 150 world leaders in 2015 but we have a long way to go before we can expect to see any progress to reach the 2030 target date.
New Zealand's Helen Clarke, then Executive Head of the United Nations Development Programme stated "that ours is the last generation which can head off the worst effects of climate change and the first generation with the wealth and knowledge to eradicate poverty, for which reason, fearless leadership is needed". But more than leadership, we need to keep the momentum going and we need to really consider what is actually working and what may need to be scrapped.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development, one of the three Rome food and agriculture based agencies, will be holding an international conference on rural inequalities to consider how to overcome disparities from 2 to 3 May.
Can the 60 international speakers come up with anything new that may give us some hope for progress . It would be an encouraging sign to see concrete suggestions by practitioners and even if a handful of governments could take some of the suggestions or proposals , set aside serious money and constructively work to improve the lives of the rural poor in a bid to keep humanity moving in the right direction over the next 33 years when we have 2.2 million more mouths to feed.
(Alison Small is a communications expert and a former United Nations official).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Question paper leakage continues: Incompetence is everywhere

QUESTION paper leaks have become epidemic before all public exams, university admission tests, and job recruitment tests during the current administration allegedly by some students and unscrupulous teachers along with office staffs. Detectives in recent times busted dens of criminals involved in the question leakage but the unholy nexus between ...

Football »

US headed to Women's World Cup with 6-0 win over Jamaica

AP, Frisco :The U.S. women's national team breezed through CONCACAF qualifying to secure a spot in the World Cup next year in France.The Americans still have to face Canada."Just because we qualified for the World Cup doesn't mean we're going to take our foot off the gas," Alex Morgan said. ...

Cricket »

India ready to unleash 'fearless' Shaw, Pant on Australia

"Fearless" young batting stars Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant will be India's special weapons during their upcoming tour of Australia, according to captain Virat Kohli.Hailing the roles of 18-year-old Shaw and 21-year-old Pant in the two-Test victory over the West Indies, Kohli said they had been given free rein to ...

International »

Saudi Arabia warns against any sanctions over missing Khashoggi case

Reuters, Washington :Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned against threats to punish it over last week's disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as European leaders piled on pressure and two more US executives scrapped plans to attend a Saudi investor conference.Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Riyadh's policies, ...

International »

Prince Harry and wife Meghan expecting a baby

AFP, London :Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are expecting a baby in the spring of 2019, they announced on Monday as they began a Pacific tour."The Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Sussex is ...

Entertainment »

Ranveer-Sara soak up the Swiss Sun with Rohit Shetty

Bollywood stars Ranveer Singh and Sara Ali Khan, who are in Switzerland to shoot for their upcoming action-drama Simmba, look all geared up for the weekend and their recent picture is a proof! Taking to her Instagram, Sara shared snaps from the set in which she can be seen posing ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury speaking at a rally organised by Nagorik Adhikar Andolon Forum at the Jatiya Press Club on Monday to meet its various demands including withdrawal of false cases filed against BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman.

Editorial »

Take seriously the promise made to the editors

The Editors' Council will form a human chain in front of the National Press Club today (Monday) to press for amendments to nine sections of the Digital Security Act. Earlier, the Council postponed the same program following an assurance from three ministers including the information minister Hasanul Haq Inu that ...

Sports »

Marcelo Melo of Brazil (left) and his partner Lukasz Kubot of Poland bite their winning trophy as they pose for photographers after beating Jamie Murray of Britain and Bruno Shares of Brazil in the men's doubles final match of the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament at Qizhong Forest Sports City Tennis Center in Shanghai, China on Sunday.

International »

Trump explains `eligibility` for those who want to come to US

PTI, Washington :US President Donald Trump has said that he wants people with merit, who can help, to enter the country and not sneak inside the border illegally."I'm very tough at the borders. We've been very tough at the borders. People have to come into our country legally, not illegally. ...

International »

US wants ‘regime change’ in Iran: Rouhani

Reuters, Tehran :The United States is seeking "regime change" in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, adding that the current US administration is the most hostile that the Islamic Republic has faced in its four decades.Tensions have increased between Iran and America after US President Donald Trump withdrew from ...

City »

Former adviser to the caretaker government Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman addressing a press conference on the occasion of 4th International Health Conference of People's Health organised by People's Health Movement- Bangladesh at VIP Lounge , Jatiya Press Club yesterday.

Entertainment »

Nadia in new telefilm

Entertainment Report :After returning country popular TV actress and model Nadia Ahmed has acted in a new telefilm titled Debor, which is based on a life-oriented story. Written by Barrister Mostaq Ahmed, the telefilm is directed by Sanjay Barua. The shooting of the telefilm has already been done in the ...

Editorial »

Mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Khashoggi

MYSTERY shrouds the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi when Turkish authorities didn't revoke their claim that he was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul amid strong denials by the Saudi government. The Turkish newspaper "Sabah" yesterday reported that Khashoggi may have recorded his own death by his Apple Watch. ...

Sports »

Danielle Kang of the United States reacts on the 18th hole after finishing the third round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at Sky72 Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea on Saturday.


Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news