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International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD):

Nessim Ahmad, a resource economist at IFAD, outlined a number of socio-economic processes that lead to unsustainable agriculture and poverty in dryland areas. He listed contributing international processes including: declining commodity prices; barriers to international trade; declining official development assistance; and the lack of adequate transfer of technology. At the national level, policy frameworks often hinder sustainable dryland development. These policies include: structural adjustment programmes; inappropriate sectoral agricultural pricing policies; a bias toward export crops; and social policies, such as the settlement of nomadic populations. A third set of processes are those related to institutional issues, including: the nature of land tenure regimes, the lack of rural financial services and credit, technology systems, infrastructure and supply channels, markets, and educational, health and other services. Other processes that have a negative impact include: gender and ethnic biases, demographic processes (particularly population growth and migration processes), and external shock.

Trends in coping strategies have shown: 1) risk minimizing agricultural strategies are narrowing; 2) strategies that relied on social support and reciprocity for overcoming food deficits are eroding due to recurrent droughts; and 3) the responsibility has moved from the local community to the national government and NGOs, through food relief programmes.