Enhancing rural labour productivity: Reaching the rural poor
This working paper (PDF) of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and SNV scrutinizes to what extend agricultural development interventions have had a sustainable impact on the poorest rural households. The paper argues that conventional agronomic interventions, focused on raising land productivity through intensification, often exclude the poorest households. The authors describe five factors that play a key role in allowing the rural poor to escape poverty. Among these factors are: agronomic interventions focused on household consumption to improve food resilience and household nutrition, opportunities for diversification, promoting off-farm employment, and better labor conditions for the rural poor. Since the rural poor depend economically on the demand for their labor, strategies should focus on optimizing labor productivity. Several interventions to achieve this are pinpointed, like: promoting food and nutrition security through diversification and nutritious food crops; stimulating non-farm economies to increase regional labor demand; promoting vocational training to enhance skills; and advocating for better wage and labor conditions for the rural poor. The paper also lists seven lessons learned from interventions of KIT, SNV, and VECO on labor productivity in agriculture.