Transformation in the way agriculture is carried out in developing countries hold the key for job generation and economic development in their economies, says a new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Such ‘sweeping transformations’ in the agriculture and allied sector in rural areas would make sure that people need not flee rural areas to escape poverty, the State of Food and Agriculture 2017 report said.

People aged between 15 and 24 are expected to rise to 1.3 billion between 2015 and 2030, and the majority of them will be in rural zones.

As their relocation to cities may make them only a part of the urban poor, it said, while calling for policies such as building food systems and agro-industries connected to urban zones – especially small and medium size cities.

“Too often ignored by policy-makers and planners, territorial networks of small cities and towns are important reference points for rural people – the places where they buy their seed, send their children to school and access medical care and other services,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

“Policy-makers are urged to recognize the catalytic role of small cities and towns in mediating the rural-urban nexus and providing smallholder farmers with greater opportunities to market their produce and share in the benefits of economic growth,” he added.

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