Role Of Agricultural Transformation And Rural Development

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Agricultural Transformation and Rural Development (Chapter 9 of Economic Development by Michael P.Todaro and Stephen C. Smith published by Addison Wesley 2011)
In this era where most low income countries and middle income countries are attempting to escape the poverty and the middle-income trap, it is necessary to examine the role of various sectors in development. Agriculture is one sector which has been in existence for ages and many people believe with the right technologies and policies in place, the sector can contribute immensely to the growth and the development of most countries especially low income countries.
Written by Michael P. Todaro and Stephen C. Smith, this book is a great resource for the field of development economics. The
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The authors identify three different situations based on the World Bank’s 2008 World Development Report: the agriculture based countries, transforming countries as well as urbanized countries. Most countries have evolved over the years moving from agricultural based to transforming countries and this is demonstrated with a graph from the World Bank. They then identify the peculiarities of peasant farming in Asia (overcrowded people on few lands), Latin America (latifundios and minifundios ) and Africa (subsistence agriculture) examining the sizes of farmland and distribution also using graphs.
The next section highlights the important role of women in agriculture in developing countries. According to the paper, the role of women is mostly ignored by government and policy makers although women are the main practitioners of subsistence farming to maintain the livelihood of their families. Women provide between 60 to 80% of labour in especially in Africa and Asia and for these developing countries to have an impact on their agricultural development, they must begin to consider that most of the farmers are
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And it can only be achieved through joint effort by the government and all stakeholders involved in agriculture. It suggests the use of supportive government policies such as providing extension services and ensuring a good balance between rural and urban development. That being said I agree that government intervention is needed in agriculture however, government role can sometimes harm the agricultural sector with the establishment of marketing boards that force farmers to reduce the prices of their goods, thereby running at a loss, favouring the rich farmers in the distribution of subsidies etc. Government also has the tendency to change policies and ignore agriculture completely when new discoveries are made. For instance Nigeria produced 43% of oil palm in the world before the discovery of crude oil when focus shifted to crude oil now its palm oil production is only 7%. Government role is important but it has to be integrated into the development of the whole nation and not just the selected

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