Throughout history, agriculture-led development strategies with state support programs have been essential to achieving rapid economy-wide growth, poverty reduction and structural transformation at early stages of development. Yet over the last three decades, the domestic and international policy environments have continued to discriminate against agricultural development in the poorest countries. This paper studies the causes and manifestations of this ‘urban bias’, including discrimination in domestic pricing policies and in the international trade regime, decreasing financial support from LDC governments and aid donors, and increasing neglect of agriculture in development theory and economic research. The authors conclude that urban bias remains a persistent and paramount obstacle to sustained growth and poverty reduction in the least developed countries.
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