Developing competitive agro-industries is crucial for generating employment and income opportunities. It also contributes to enhancing the quality of, and the demand for, farm products. Agro-industries have the potential to provide employment for the rural population not only in farming, but also in off-farm activities such as handling, packaging, processing, transporting and marketing of food and agricultural products. There are clear indications that agro-industries are having a significant global impact on economic development and poverty reduction, in both urban and rural communities. However, the full potential of agro-industries as an engine for economic development has not yet been realized in many developing countries, especially in Africa.
This publication is an outcome of the Global Agro-Industries Forum. It has evolved through contributions from scholars and development practitioners aimed at highlighting the current status and future course of agro-industries and bringing further attention to the valuable contribution that the agro-industrial sector can make to international development. FAO, UNIDO and IFAD expect that the materials presented here will help advance the knowledge and enrich the debate on the role of agro-industries in generating employment, creating income, and fighting poverty in the developing world.