Rural development has been central to the development effort, but rural poverty persists and funding is falling: a new narrative is needed. This overview article describes a Washington Consensus on Food, Agriculture and Rural Development, and summarises from the various contributions here the elements of a post-Washington Consensus. Rural areas are changing, particularly with respect to demography, diversification, and strengthening links to national and global economies. Key issues include: agriculture as the engine of rural development; the future viability of small farms; the potential of the non-farm rural economy; the challenges of new thinking on poverty, participation and governance; and implementation problems. The article concludes with five general principles and ten specific recommendations for the future of rural development.
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