Starting A Pilot Project In Rural Development

To start a pilot project in a region of any developing country would necessitate selection of areas with good potential for implementation of rural   development programs.

After a careful survey has been undertaken, the presence of all or some of the following factors may be necessary.

  1. The area  should have the rural inhabitants organized  in to a social or economic system  such as a village council  production
  2. The area has growth potential. Because of lack of necessary physical, human and financial resources and also infrastructures, the area has not developed. The area also has socio-economic and political potential with well defined objectives to be realized.
  3. The regional authority and private sector where the area is located can provide the supporting services needed for development and has  a minimum of relevant and needed infrastructure
  4. The size of land  holdings amongst the farmers does not vary  greatly and  the  land tenure  system allows free development
  5. Expenditure of large sums of money and long periods of waiting (longer than 3 to 4 years) will not be necessary   to achieve preliminary results, even though to attain the ultimate objectives of rural development. Longer term investments in the  form  of rural  electricity safe drinking water supply irrigation works and structures communication, roads, transport,  marketing, storage, etc must be made
  6. The optimum size, area, boundary and geographical section of the country which constitute the working unit for operation of a rural development project or programs must be carefully determined. Such an area must be economically viable and justify the investment made in agriculture-based industries, easily manageable and be in conformity with the skills, attitudes and conditions of rural people involved.

Effective planning and implementation of rural development programs involves functional and viable organizations and taking into account the following considerations.

The must be a national plan or program of rural development plus supporting national and regional policies, adequate financial resources and careful and wise use of such funds. In many developing countries an overall plan for rural development is difficult to formulate because of inadequate, reliable basic information at all levels. In such a case rural development planners must call can on all sectors f the economy and different social strata of its centralized or decentralized administration, its political structure government offices and administration at national, regional and area levels. Also, these organizations should be in harmony with the idea and program of rural development and be willing to participate and cooperate in is implementation.

A national plan must also include details of the financial technical and administrative effort that will be allocated to the program, the areas of major concentration the phasing and sequence of activities, and the coordination and linkage with the sector programs. Regional and local planning should involve the delegation of some central authority for program design and implementation to field trained staff who are in touch with rural people and can assess their problems and their political, socio-economic conditions, such staff who can mobilize local human and physical resources and can ensure greater participation by the rural people.

Experience of the last three decades of rural development in many developing  countries indicates that establishment of an office  of rural development, headed by the  highest political and administrative body of the country such as the monarch the president or the prime minister to coordinate national planning and program development carries considerable weight effectively is also there  to concentrate his efforts on the coordination of different  sectors and stop duplication of work  by specialized agencies which is  unwise, wasteful and ends in failure. Effective coordination is greatly needed at the national and regional levels to improve poor information services and also to coordinate the activities of the major government and private sector bodies involved in rural development. In fact, the success of a rural development program undertaken by any government agency depends on the sustained action and how well they keep in line with the overall objectives of the rural development plan

Decentralization is a prerequisite for effective implementation of rural development programs. It may involve the delegation of authority to formulate projects, allocate expenditure, run enterprises, and administer projects at provincial and regional levels and to raise revenue. To establish effective decentralization procedures an institutional arrangement in the form  of a regional  coordinating committee, regional  planning  organization and even local  government department should  be set up to resolve the many problems and issues at the local and regional levels without  referring them to the central authority. Generally, in large countries the responsibility for planning, budgeting and implementing rural development programs rests with the provincial (or state authorities, while in small countries it is mainly done at the national level. In most developing countries, it is the central planning organizations, ministries or special government or presidential units which establish plans, provide funds, coordinate and direct rural development activities. But the experience of over three decades of rural development projects and plans administered in many developing countries strongly indicates that effective planning and efficient administration at the district or country level is most effective in implementing rural projects. Then at the local level, diverse sectors of activity can be integrated or allowed some degree of flexibility in implementing project as they gain more experience. Moreover, when authority acceptance of responsibility and accountability for the work done is provided at the local level, it boosts the promotion of the project, particularly in the isolated regions of developing countries.

Many provincial authorities are badly handicapped by the small amount of the funs they can raise to support rural development projects. At the beginning due to inadequate training and experience of administrators and staff at the village and district levels, a decentralized rural development project may run un to difficulties but this may be overcome by sincere help and efforts   given by the regional authority or office. For example, in the people’s republic of China reliance on decentralized local (village) level management is the corner stone of the economic system. The same approach is now used in Kenya, India, Algeria and Tanzania.

The introduction of changes and the adoption of new techniques as part of a rural development program involve considerable participation by rural people in all phases of rural development. Obviously conditions and the form participation takes differ form one developing country to another, but overall indications show that selection, design and implementation of rural development projects should begin at the village or rural area level there is some evidence (209a) that early participation may be secured by a strengthened local authority then by officials who are located far away in the central government. In some developing countries and also in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Malaysia and Indonesia, the participation of local people takes the form of recommendations on priorities from local committees, which are composed of villagers and low level officials. These recommendations are passed to district (or county) level, followed by a regional level and finally arrive for study and approval at the central government office. This basic pattern of reaching agreement between villagers and low-ranking officials, plus the villagers  ‘involvement in decision making, followed by discussions at officials and non-officials has been quite effective  in the implementation of rural development projects. Indeed, each country has to find its own system of involving the rural people to prevent local politics dominating local officials, or on the other hand, the officials making all the decisions and recommendations. For example, local cooperative societies can help in ensuring considerable participation by their members in the different phases of rural development projects in general, and agricultural development in particular. The work of a well-established internal system of mutual aid such as nongovernmental agencies (aid agencies, missionaries etc.) shows the more successful examples in fostering cooperation, outside the framework of officialdom, and often in quite modest circumstances.

Another major consideration in national planning for the implementation of rural development programmes is the provision of trained and skilled manpower. A scarcity of skilled manpower is found in many developing countries at all levels. In many of these countries, skilled manpower is neither encouraged to work nor do they stay in rural areas, due to the lack of economic and social amenities. Thus the manpower in rural areas is not well trained, and is either too young or too old for their experience to be useful.

To get a rural project effectively and efficiently underway, the staff designated to live and work in rural areas should be given adequate pay and allowances. Their chances of promotion should be increased, their services, if successful, should be recognized and recompensed; and the education, well-being and comfort of their families should be seriously cared for. Moreover, where high level skilled staffs are not available, a more efficient use should be made of more junior staff.

Training should be simple and specific in handling the priorities and special needs of a particular rural population; especially in the areas of health, agricultural extension work and cooperative credit societies. It is also necessary for community leaders, such as school teachers, and for secretaries of cooperatives. New technical information should be provided to augment and revise outdated technical information in the form of day classes, weekend seminars, evening classes, etc. 

A national plan must also include details of the financial technical and administrative effort that will be allocated to the program, the areas of major concentration the phasing and sequence of activities, and the coordination and linkage with the sector programs.

Decentralization is a prerequisite for effective implementation of rural development programs. In may involve the delegation of authority to formulate projects, allocate expenditure, run enterprises, administer projects at provincial and regional levels and to raise revenue.

Generally, in large countries the responsibility for planning, budgeting and implementing rural development programs rests with the provincial (or state authorities, while in small countries it is mainly done at the national level.

The experience of over three decades of rural  development projects and plans administered  in many developing countries strongly indicates that effective planning and efficient administration a the  district or country level is most effective in implementing rural projects.

The participation of local people takes the form of recommendations on priorities from local committees, which are composed of villagers and low level officials.

Local cooperative societies can help in ensuring considerable participation by their members in the different phases of rural development projects in general, and agricultural development in particular.

Another major consideration in national planning for the implementation of rural development programs is the provision of trained and skilled manpower.

~~ These are the notes from my Rural Development class @ UoM ~~

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Rural ICT Development And National Level Implications

At the national level, a strong commitment to rural development policies is needed. To eliminate rural poverty and to obtain increased agricultural production, such steps as aspects of land reform may be introduced. This may even need a major political change. Government objectives should poor, low-income farmers and peasants. There should be coordination between national plans and rural and agricultural development programs projects under way in developing countries at present, very few of these developing nations have a well planned, well operated, articulate, systematic and efficient rural development program-me.

Often, in many developing countries, the relationships between input and output and also between the prices of agricultural products and prices in the other sectors of the economy are such that economic growth is not stimulated in the rural areas. Frequently, manufacturing and processing industries are favored at the expense of agriculture. Thus raising costs of inputs such as fertilizers, etc and making the adoption of new technology and new ideas by farmers risky or unrewarding. Also when cheap food is provided to urban areas with a subsidy to farmers, often large numbers of small farmer do not benefit by such subsides. It is, in the long run, less costly and more beneficial to have a minimum guaranteed price for farm products than to have subsides

In most developing countries, fiscal policies have shown considerable inconsistency in their approach to rural development. For example, when a large portion of public expenditure is used in favor of urban dwellers while in rural areas, only the few well-to-do benefit from many of the social and other services provided. Indirect taxation puts taxes on goods and services so that rural poor people pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes than the rich.

Cost recovery of publicly financed investments such as main highways, bridges, etc .., should be imposed in order to provide revenue for rural development and for the rural poor who are unable to pay any imposed progressive taxes. Absence of an imposed progressive tax on national investments or services will severely limit future undertaking by the government in rural areas, even though the economic and social returns may be high.

For rural development to be effective in developing countries, land reform can act as an essential element (see chapter 4). The income of peasants and subsistence farmers in many parts of the world depends on the extent to which they control the land and its output. Land reform is needed, especially in areas of difficult tenancy producers and also before government expenditure on farm inputs and other projects intended for the benefit of small farmers, rural workers and rural people, can be effectively undertaken. Land reform carried out without proper planning and provision of some physical and social infrastructure is doomed of fail.

In a developing country a rural development project may be composed of several programs with different objectives covering agricultural industrial and social services. Several sectors provide a whole range of facilities and services such as clinics, health centers, credit cooperatives feeder roads and water supply systems. Many of these services may best be located in small, rural towns serving the surrounding rural areas and villages. Small capacity service units may be located in the village and those with larger capacity in the towns. As rural development progresses and more workers migrate to towns, the regional planning of rural and urban areas has to be coordinated and given greater supervision. Before regional rural development policies are formulated careful study of human, physical and natural resources available to each region, in particular the less fortunate areas should be made. The growth potential and resource endowment of each area must be appraised to establish the procedures for finance and investment policy

In many developing countries 60 to 80 percent of small farmers have limited or no access to institutional credit. A high percentage of credit in these countries is short term. In rural areas, the use of credit for increased economic production will benefit rural people, provided the following conditions are observed

  1. New technology, innovations and improvements which show definite and clear economic grain for rural households or for the borrower should be adopted.
  2. Farmers should be using production credit, and also have access  to necessary training and skills to m make effective use of innovations and credit
  3. Existence of good delivery systems which provide the ready and timely inputs required farm produces and the market outlets for them.
  4. For small farmer, a comprehensive package program which increases the productivity and easy sale of farm product should be arranged.
  5. To replace to supplement credit from traditional sources that charge high interest rates, to overcome in elasticities in the supply of credit, to alleviate the seasonal financial problems of rural households, to encourage small farmers to raise their output, more and more institutional credit is required by farmers and rural people
  6. Land reform once implemented and pursued wisely, sharply

increases the demand for credit from former peasants and tenants

For most rural development program to be viable, the following points on the introduction and flow of technological ideas should be considered

a.   Continuous flow of field-tested easy to apply and proven technological information relevant to small holders small producers and to farm production, should be available at all times. This information must be revised and updated as more economical efficient, newer techniques and developed and implemented

b.   Without new technological improvement rural poor people cannot substantially increase their earnings as a result of the investment made by governments.

c.   For specific geographical areas with limitations on higher production, such as high and rolling country, mountain regions arid zones and hot and humid forests where population is spares and scattered etc, special techniques and technologies should be evolved.

d.   Technological factors important to small farmers and rural enterprises should be given special attention. Research priority should be given to matters such as easy pest and disease control methods, the use of high yielding varieties or poor man’s crops such as millets sorghum, cassava, yam, pulses and upland rice

e.   Applied research adaptation of innovations at the village level, well-planned extension service all are highly essential. Many failures of rural development projects in the past have been attributed to inadequacies in research, adoption of new ideas extension work, reliable evaluation methods and continuity

f.    The peasant on subsistence agriculture, the low- income small rural operator and landless rural poor people require as compressive an approach as the farmers in order to improve their production and other aspects of their lives.

Education of the rural masses and the poor is highly important as apart of a national plan for rural development. There are minimum learning needs in the form of ‘’basic education” which include educational literacy, numeracy, the knowledge and skill required for earning a living, operating a household including family health, childcare, nutrition and sanitation, and civic participation time and costs involved in providing primary school education has promoted many developing countries to turn to information about the most cost effective education for adults. A survey by the world bank (2,57) showed small scale training and education operations, by a wide variety of different agencies were often not integrated into a national development education of the rural masses in developing countries for the effective implementation rural development. Rural education should be considered in terms of the national plan and educational policy and should be based on the following principles:

a. Primary education should be low cost. Reduce waste and be of high quality

b.Use of mass media, simplification of curricula, adaptation of curricula to local needs. Age of entry to school, length of school cycle, adaptation of indigenous learning systems. And size of classes should be studied and implemented in educational policy.

c. Education may be integrated with employment and rural development where students receive effective training in skills, self employment and new opportunities as is the case with a project in Botswana (299) in the Swaneng Hill and Shahe river schools.

  1. The education of rural people at all levels should be functional in serving specific target groups and meeting their specific requirements.
  2. Rural education programs should be planned as part of a total education plan and delivery system. The programmers should also co-ordinate the other activities of the community such as health and credit by using multipurpose centers. Examples of multipurpose centers are the rural training centers and community education centers in Tanzania.
  3. Rural education projects literacy programs etc. should be integrated with other development activities, and whenever possible should provide appropriate inputs and services. Such integration and linkage can be seen in the Comilla project in Bangladash (209a) and the program on agricultural credit and cooperatives in Afghanistan (PACCA).
  4. Basic education and training of rural people should be flexible in terms of costs and management, and in using existing facilities and resources so that continued effective implementation of programs can be maintained.

~~ These are the notes from my Rural Development class @ UoM ~~

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Rural ICT Formula

As stated and emphasized earlier, generally no single formula can be recommended for rural development, but projects aimed at specific rural groups and designed especially to meet their needs, have a greater chance of success. Some guidelines derived from previous experience of rural development projects are:

  1. It is possible to develop rural areas and reach a large population of rural poor with relatively good economic returns only if a firm potential commitment is made to generally sound policies of rural development.
  2. To reach a large number of rural poor, low-income and subsistence farmers, it is important to provide a low coast delivery system of supplying inputs on credit terms and to have viable extension and marking services. Financially viable groups such as farmers’ association, societies and community groups may also be used to support or even implement rural development programmes.
  3. For smooth operation and successful implementation, rural development projects must be flexible to respond to special situations and previous experience and yet remain within the national and regional framework of financial resources and standards. it is important to coordinate  a working balance and control at the national , regional and local levels. This is achieved by a gradual but effective decentralization.
  4. Frequently there may be a need to integrate project management in to existing projects, and it possible and necessary, a general reform of central, regional and local organizations and procedures should be made in order to increase efficiency and productivity.
  5. Participation and evolvement of the rural low-income groups, rural poor, peasants and small farmers in rural development projects at the local levels is of great importance in providing income and in building confidence. So is development of an efficient agricultural systems research to help peasants and small farmers.
  6. For effective implementation of projects, efficient and well-oriented training programs for the local and rural development leaders, managers, regional and project planners and project managers, cooperative society staff extension agents and leaders at the village levels must be initiated and carried out effectively.
  7. The cost of projects must be recovered in order to provide funds for additional rural development projects and gradually to make some of the smaller projects self-supporting.
  8. For small farmers, ”technical package programs” for increased agricultural production and rural development plans should be introduced to meet their specific requirements. These should be  based on appropriate national, regional and even local research  and surveys in conformity with the culture and tradition of each rural group. Farming systems research plays an important role in this connection.
  9. Improved information on the extent and availability of national resources is needed to private a realistic basis for planning rural development projects at national, regional and village levels.
  10. Expansion and the use of existing technology by small farmers, non-farm producers and other rural people will increase the output but an increase in productivity will require the introduction of adaptive proven technology

 

Experiences of the last four decades have shown that some developing countries have made substantial progress towards improved well-being of the people and prosperity of the country. Some of the features of progress which appear as general trends and common to all have been selected from rural development projects that have been successfully implemented in Kenya, Taiwan, Indian and Mexico. These are

  1. All show marked agricultural development and increased food production
  2. The major investments have been in essential infrastructure projects such as roads, dams, irrigation systems, marketing systems, land reform and storage facilities
  3. Research policy  has been directed at innovations intended to increase farm production, and save on labor  material, time and capital
  4. Manpower training has primarily been in the essential area of agricultural extension, education, cooperatives, credit and finance institutions
  5. Prices of farm products have been regulated and new export markets have been found.
  6. Industrial development mostly linked to agricultural development, has been given high priority.
  7. Incentives such as guaranteed prices, when announced in advance, have boosted production.
  8. Reliable alternatives have been given to rural or peasant families whose survival is   dependent on a staple food, and who need a very powerful incentive to take the risk of growing cash crops.

~~ These are the notes from my Rural Development class @ UoM ~~

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