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Table of Contents

  1. Topic pack - Development economics - introduction
  2. 4.1 Economic development (notes)
    1. Economic development - introduction
    2. Development - pause for thought
    3. Economic growth and economic development
    4. Sustainability
    5. The sources of economic growth and economic development
    6. Natural factors
    7. Importance of agriculture
    8. Externalities
    9. Case study - farming in Kenya
    10. Human factors
    11. Population
    12. Physical capital and technological factors
    13. Institutional factors
    14. The consequences of growth for Development
    15. Common characteristics of economically less developed countries
    16. Poverty cycle
    17. Diversity among economically less developed nations
    18. International development goals
    19. Millennium Development Goals
    20. Case Study - Millennium Development Goals
  3. 4.1 Economic development (questions)
  4. 4.2 Measuring Economic Development (notes)
  5. 4.2 Measuring development (questions)
  6. 4.3 The role of domestic factors in economic development (notes)
  7. 4.3 The role of domestic factors in economic development (questions)
  8. 4.4 The role of international trade (notes)
  9. 4.4 The role of international trade (questions)
  10. 4.5 The role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) (notes)
  11. 4.5 The role of foreign direct investment (questions)
  12. 4.6 The role of foreign aid and multilaterial development assistance (notes)
  13. 4.6 The role of foreign aid and multilateral development assistance (questions)
  14. 4.7 The role of international debt (notes)
  15. 4.7 The role of international debt (questions)
  16. 4.8 The balance between markets and intervention (notes)
  17. 4.8 The balance between markets and intervention (questions)
  18. Print View

Importance of agriculture

For many developing economies, agriculture is the largest single sector in the economy. For the 70% of the world's poor who live in rural areas, agriculture is the main source of income and employment. However, depletion and degradation of land and water pose serious challenges to producing enough food and other agricultural products to sustain livelihoods in rural areas and to meet the needs of urban populations.

Click on the this World Bank link to access data on agriculture and rural development with measures of agricultural inputs, outputs, and productivity compiled by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.

An excellent source of interactive economic data is the Gapminder site which allows you to explore economic trends through visualisations, showing changes through time and options to examine both global and national data. It also allows comparisons between countries.

This visualisation demonstrates the decline over time in the agriculture sector as a percentage of national GDP in most countries. You can look at the agricultural sector visualisation in the window below or click on the previous link to open it in a new web window:

You can select particular countries to highlight from the bar on the right hand side of the page. You can also select different axes for your visualisation by clicking on the arrow on either or both of these axes.

N.B. If the visualisation does not come up with Agriculture (% of GDP) on the vertical axis and Income per person (GDP/capita, PPP$ inflation-adjusted) on the horizontal axis, then simply select these by clicking on the arrows.

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  • Run the visualisation for ALL countries
  • Select Tanzania and India in the box on the right of the visualisation and rerun the visualisation
    • Comment on what the visualisation shows for India and Tanzania
    • Search the internet for background to these trends and write a short summary explaining the differences between the two countries

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You could start your research by looking at the following:

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So why are natural resources such an important issue in developing countries and what can be done to improve the situation? Summarise what we have considered above and then follow the natural resources link below to see the major issues

Gapminder also has an excellent presentational tool, called Gapminder desktop which allows you to download visualisation sets onto your computer for use in presentations, even when there is no internet access. The following video provides useful instructions and hints on how to incorporate visualisations into your presentations.

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Using Gapminder desktop