22 | IAASTD Synthesis Report

LAC and SSA) indicate that the unequal distribution of resources is a major constraint that shapes development needs and impedes the achievement of all other development and sustainability goals.

Farming systems
Agriculture is currently constrained in its capacity to re­spond to poverty and generate a range of livelihood options in rural areas. Farming systems are very diverse and range between large scale capital intensive farming systems to small-scale labor intensive farming systems. Over the 20th century there was increasing farming system specialization in NAE, largely due to the implementation of policies and measures aimed at expanding agricultural production (land reclamation, subsidies, price systems, border tariffs). A high proportion of farmers in CWANA, ESAP, LAC and SSA are small-scale producers whose livelihood strategies include poly-cropping, tree products and livestock as well as off-farm activities. In developing countries generally, limited ru­ral and urban employment opportunities and the continuing dependence of cultivators on economically unviable small-scale holdings (increasing input prices; relatively stagnant agricultural output prices; cheap, subsidized imports; and limited surplus) have diminished the viability of subsistence production alone.
     In addition, modern biological, chemical and mechani­cal technologies, in particular, are designed for farms and farming systems which have attendant entitlements and con­ditions that enable the production of tradable and vertically integrated commodities in value chains. Where the govern­ment and some private and civil society organizations have enabled appropriate scale effects as well as technical and financial support, small-scale farmers also have intensified their production systems and benefited from increasing mar­ket integration. Though the productivity per unit of land and per unit of energy use is much higher in these small and diversified farms than the large intensive farming systems in irrigated areas, they continue to be neglected by formal AKST. [See Part II: Bioenergy and Climate Change]
     In the semiarid CWANA where water scarcity is preva­lent, current conditions favor large-scale monocropping sys­tems that rely on high investment (in water supply, machinery and agrochemicals) and cause environmental degradation, although positive solutions can emerge through AKST and incentives for enhancing incomes in the small-scale farm sec­tor. The challenge for AKST is to address these small-scale farms in diverse ecosystems and to create realistic opportu­nities for their development; the potential for improved area productivity is decreasing, except for low-input and labor-oriented agriculture in a few regions of the world.
     There is a significant correlation between capital stock in agriculture and value added per worker—for example in CWANA, countries with capital intensive agriculture are associated with high value added per worker. In many developing countries, especially in SSA and the least devel­oped countries in ESAP, the low capitalization of agriculture translates into low value added per worker, thus worsen­ing the vicious cycle of agrarian and rural poverty. These conditions are often coupled with declining employment opportunities in agriculture that require rural laborers to secure  alternative non-farm employment.  Unfortunately,


the non-farm labor market is constrained by high unem­ployment, especially for the relatively large unskilled young population in search of work. While organic and ecological agriculture as practiced in parts of ESAP and LAC can pro­vide more employment, the absolute unemployment figures, especially in ESAP, are massive. In SSA and ESAP as well as labor surplus countries in other regions, it is crucial to explore how agricultural and rural production processes can be better linked with industrial and service sector growth. AKST in its current form, whether as formal S&T organiza­tions or local and traditional knowledge specific to agro-ecosystems, is limited in its capacity to inform change in the institutions that frame human interaction, equitable and just governance and vibrant links with other sectors of the economy.

Market conditions, trends and challenges
Agricultural commodities the world over are currently fac­ing a secular decline in prices accompanied by wide fluctua­tions. IAASTD projections of the global food system indicate a tightening of world food markets, with increasing market concentration in a few hands and rapid growth of global re­tail chains in all developing countries, natural and physical resource scarcity, and adverse implications for food security. Real world prices of most cereals and meats are projected to increase in the coming decades, dramatically reversing past trends. Millions of small-scale producers and landless labor in developing countries and underdeveloped markets, already weakened by changes in global and regional trade, with poor market infrastructure, inadequate bargaining ca­pacity and lack of skills to comply with new market de­mands, will face reduced access to food and livelihoods.      The food security challenge is likely to worsen if markets and market-driven agricultural production systems continue to grow in a "business as usual" mode. By 2050, the world will have 80 million severely malnourished children, con­centrated mainly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In­dustrialized country agricultural subsidies and advantages in agricultural added value per worker close off options for the export of agricultural commodities from sub-Saharan Af­rica and distort their domestic markets, thereby suppressing producer incentives to adopt new technologies and enhance crop productivity. In CWANA and ESAP, trade barriers (in­cluding IPR, quality standards), market distorting domestic policies and international protocols or restrictions add to the complexity of future food security. The food security challenge is likely to worsen current conflicts, cross border tensions, and environmental security concerns.      In CWANA, ESAP, LAC, and SSA, a number of mecha­nisms to protect producers from price fluctuations and en­able access to and compliance with new market practices or trade requirements (like sanitary and phytosanitary [SPS] measures), include market-based instruments such as futures trading, which small-scale producers find difficult to access. Market based instruments also include commodity boards and price regulation which large buyers find too limiting to meet their needs [See Part II: Trade and Markets]. The emergence of regional and preferential trade agreements and trading blocks among developing countries reveals an increasing mistrust of, and untenable nature of global trade regimes, given the perception of an unequal playing field.