China leads decline in world rural poverty: report

16:13, December 07, 2010      

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China has led a dramatic decline in rural poverty rates in many parts of the world over the past decade, a report released Monday by the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) showed.

The decline is mainly due to increased production and higher levels of private investment in the farming sector, as well as increased urbanization across the developing world, The AFP reported.

Greater productivity of farmers and higher global food prices have also helped, as has the increase in farm market information available to small farmers in remote areas of the developing world using mobile phone technology.

"The figure of one billion poor rural people represents a substantial decline in rural poverty numbers -- down from almost 1.4 billion in the late 1980s," said IFAD's 2011 Rural Poverty Report, which comes out every 10 years.

"This has been largely due to the extraordinarily fast decline in the numbers of rural poor in East Asia particularly China," the report said.

The number of poor in East Asia has gone down from 365 million to 117 million in 2011, with the poverty rate falling from 44 percent to 15 percent.Other regions where there have been major declines are South East Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

The numbers of rural poor have instead risen in South Asia and Africa.

Ed Heinemann, the report's coordinator, told AFP in an interview that poverty still remains concentrated in rural areas and he called on governments and donor countries to design aid programs accordingly.

He also warned the effects of climate change were beginning to be felt.

"For many, many farmers climate change is already happening. Rains aren't as reliable as they used to be. The knowledge that they had about the seasons is losing its value. There's greater uncertainty," Heinemann said.

"Longer-term we're going to see potentially devastating changes. Not just longer dry periods, more flash floods. We're going to see areas that are currently arable go out of production altogether," he added.



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