Extreme Poverty is increasingly a rural phenomenon. Rural non-farm activities account for 35 to 50% of rural income in developing countries. For the landless and the very poor, sustainable income gains at the household level are associated with additional wages earned from non-farm activities. The distributional impacts of rural non-farm opportunities can be significantly pro-poor, and can extend through linkages between the non-farm and the farm sector. However, for the poor to participate when opportunities present themselves in the rural non-farm economy, they must overcome several institutional, physical and social constraints.

It was an expert debate on how the World Bank Group can engage the rural non-farm economy to alleviate poverty. This was a multi-sectoral dialogue that bridges the WBG’s practices - across Agriculture, Social and Rural, and the Private Sector- to identify innovative solutions in support of sustainable and inclusive rural structural transformation in the developing world.

The event highlighted findings from IEG’s recent evaluation Growing the Rural Non-Farm Economy to Alleviate Poverty.


Watch a Re-Play of the live event


Continue the conversation on twitter at #RuralNonFarm

Read Growing the Rural Non-Farm Economy to Alleviate Poverty


Caroline Heider
Director-General, IEG, and
Senior Vice President
World Bank Group


Ede Jorge Ijjasz-Vasquez
Senior Director
Urban, Rural & Social Development Global Practice
World Bank Group

Growing the Rural Non-Farm Economy to Alleviate Poverty

Lauren Kelly
Senior Evaluation Officer
Independent Evaluation Group


José Carbajo Martinez
Director, Financial, Private Sector & Sustainable Development Unit
Independent Evaluation Group
World Bank Group



Martien Van Nieuwkoop
Director, Agriculture Global Practice
World Bank Group

Juergen Zattler
Executive Director (Germany)
World Bank Group

Loraine Ronchi
Lead Economist & Global Agribusiness Lead
Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice/
International Finance Corporation

Steven Haggblade
Professor, International Development, Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
Michigan State University

View the infographic: Growing the Rural Non-farm Economy to Alleviate Poverty



Submitted by Nazly Ortiz on Tue, 12/12/2017 - 14:53


To Consider Rural non-farm productive activities as a solution to alleviate poverty in rural areas is good. But, in the future if we don't foster agricultural productive activities, how will humanity get the food needed even when population is increasing? Not to foster agricultural coulb be a risk or threathen of food security in the future? Taking account the importance of food security for humanity, Why is it much better to foster rural non farm activities with rural population than agricultural production?

I totally agree with you. The world bank and many other development agencies still insist on following the industrialization path to development in Africa in spite of overwhelming empirical research that has suggested a peasant path instead. The failure to recognize that people in the country side are firstly concerned about food production before they think of other non-farm income generating activities. Agricultural production (food) should be the main focus of any development program in the rural areas.

I also agree that farming has been the main activity of the rural people and the global food insecurity threat but still, the rural population have been poor despite huge investment in rural farming. that is why I strongly believe that, if we must alleviate poverty which is mostly in rural areas we must complement another way than farming. After all, the Urban areas and even the west which are not predominantly agricultural are economically stronger than the Rural areas.

Submitted by Purna Nepali on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:50


How can we address concerns of land poor and small farms ? What are the best strategies to include them in inclusive economic growth ?

Submitted by Sidney Clouston on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 12:28


We wonder why a Public Private Partnership method is not favored by the World Bank? In some or most cases a Return On Investment can result for
the business and repayment to the World Bank result in extended ability with the additional funds. It would seem to be a win - win proposition. Do you not agree?

Submitted by Stephen Wright… on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 12:51


We believe it is imperative farmers are part of a value chain with aggregators or processors, preferably a formal arrangement.
Supply chain development increases farmer bankability leading to Agro Value Chain Financing.
Is farmer development without a value chain strategy sustainable?
Should the Bank consider all rural farm development be linked to a value chain strategy (non-farm economy)?

Submitted by Tairu Ekekhide… on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 12:59


Let us discuss on how Governments of various countries can help SMEs in the rural areas to accepting their assets as collateral for loans. Also impact assessment of EDPs should be encouraged for the rural SMEs

Submitted by Sidney Clouston on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 13:54


Our Youth Vocational Planning for Extension Agent Assistants is developing now. The need to support small farmers exists and some infrastructure exists for the Extension Service to include a call center in Nigeria. Visit rsece.org

Submitted by Nazly Ortiz on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 13:57


This question is for Mr. Steven

I desagree with your idea about poor people have to be educated to get a Job in rural areas. I think poor people in rural areas should develop entrepreneurship skills and create bussinesses? what do you think about that?

Submitted by AGBOR Franklin… on Mon, 12/18/2017 - 05:44


Developing the rural non-farming economy could be an excellent approach to NO POVERTY (SDG 1) as the majority of poor people are in rural areas. However, support to the non-farm economy would be context specific and my proposal is to map out specific non-farm opportunities to specific areas.

Submitted by Amadi Enyinda on Mon, 03/26/2018 - 16:52


The visions of IEG is what the less privilege and the poorest people in the rural areas need, but the big question is how do you get to them? Is there a platform in reaching them without the involvement of government? Especially in Africa?

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