Successful Agricultural Transformation: Selected Challenges in the Emerging Global Environment

Low-productivity, subsistence-smallholder agriculture everywhere faces tremendous new challenges, in addition to decades-old constraints. Smallholders are threatened by being bypassed by the rise and dominance of domestic and global value chains (DVCs, GVCs). They are also being threatened by global warming, which is already rewriting the basic parameters of temperature and precipitation on which their entire activities depend. These global forces are much too powerful for any farming or livestock enterprise, no matter how rich, to adjust to and thrive without assistance. For subsistence smallholders adjustment is particularly hard. This Policy Brief places national efforts at agricultural transformation within the global context of selected developments in the coming decades. These developments represent both opportunities and constraints for each country. They are: • Value Chains—global and domestic—their rise and why they matter for agricultural transformation; • Climate change—predicted increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events and implications for agricultural transformation. This Policy Brief first discusses global and domestic value chains (GVCs/DVCs), then climate change, with focus on the environment that each factor creates, and what opportunities and constraints they present for successful agricultural transformation.