As the world prepares for the new millennium, all countries are trying quickly to adjust to changing needs within the increasingly mobile global marketplace. After years of structural biases and general disinterest in the developing world's agricultural sector, global trade is now forcing poorer, agrarian-based economies to assess their natural comparative advantages and quickly adapt. Almost revolutionary structures, policies, and strategies are now required to meet such challenges. While the view taken here emphasizes that the changes under way offer considerable opportunities, it also recognizes that many producers and rural residents lack the relevant experiences, skills, and financial support to adjust to the new conditions. Addressing these daunting needs in a comprehensive framework becomes a critical activity for future global well-being. The centerpiece of the new paradigm is the rapid global shift from closed, nationally focused markets (protected and subsidized) to open, global markets (competitive and less subsidized).