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Nature and Process of Rural Development

Considerable work has been done on formulating general theories of national development. In particular in terms of the economic development of both developed and developing nations but very little work has been undertaken so far in explaining the nature and the process of rural development; how it can be initiated in an area, in a region or in a country and how it can progress and unfold its multidisciplinary nature, since rural development is the result of many interacting forces and processes.

The knowledge of rural development is still at rudimentary stages. Interactions among polices, institutions, trained manpower, physical resources and technology are complex and immensely diverse. Nor is here a systematic frame work that can realistically be applied to establish priorities or identify complementarities on a mass scale, given the extreme paucity of information (from America), and in particular, of the trained manpower and institutional capability for planning rural development.

There is only a brief insight based on the analysis of the constraints and potentials encountered in designing and implementing the progress reviewed of the mechanisms that have evolved to deal with them, and of the effectiveness of these mechanisms in improving the performance of the projects. Uma Lela states that if the objective of rural development is to reach a mass of low-income rural population and also make the following questions become relevant and interrelated as based on experience

  1. Are reviewed programs directed towards low- income groups?
  2. To what extent have past programs been effective in improving living standards of the mass of the low-income rural population?
  3. What constraints have been experienced in realizing his objective?
  4. How have the constraints been ameliorated in the programs reviewed?
  5. What are the implications of the performance of the past programs for the choice of target groups? Type of targets, policies and institutions if objectives of rural development are to be realized.

These questions and many more are facing the planners of rural development projects and programs in every corner of the developing world.

One effective starting point is the development of agriculture. In taking this essential step for initiating a broader rural development plan, the willingness of farmers and how they can be motivated to learn to apply (to adopt) new ideas that will bring them greater crop and animal productivity must be considered. If, in a region agricultural development in the form of greater farm products and outputs and good marketing systems become firmly established, it will quickly spread and affect other sectors of the economy. As a result of widely distributed and increased farmers’ incomes, new demands for diverse goods and services, agricultural and non- agricultural, appear; rural shopkeepers, craftsmen and village artisans feel the stimulus and get part of increased farm income in the form of greater purchases of inputs and services by the farmers and their families. Smaller rural owns and even larger towns may also share in the benefit of greater agricultural benefits of greater agricultural activity for a broader self- sustaining variety of rural development project and urban-rural interrelationships and exchange. In this stage of agricultural progress, education, formal and informal, for quite diverse groups can become an effective instrument of rural development if it is accompanied by the presence of other essential, complementary forces. It can also help farmers to adopt new ideas.

The rural poor need programs of nutrition, preventive health services and educational facilities that can provide an escape from poverty especially for rural youth. in this respect ,for example, the world bank (300c)”new- style” projects in the agricultural sector which are designed to benefit directly large numbers of the rural poor, are also taking a compressive approach to small- scale agriculture.

These projects typically include not only components which directly increase productivity, such as the introduction of the improved seed and other inputs, but also those that are indirectly products, such as providing education and training facilities, rural electrification, water supply, health services, rural housing, rural roads etc. This is because the community involvement in  each step of rural development program is necessary before rural people accept the change and adopt a new technique.

Once increased agricultural productivity is under way many new products and technologies penetrate the rural area where greater specialization and division of lab our occurs in the economy and in the especially they can produce or manufacture local goods to replace the imports these market towns grow and become great canters of commerce, business and cultural centers for the adjoining developing rural areas. Good connection with the region and the outside world is then established provided certain essential conditions are present.

Another feature of greater agricultural productivity is the new type of tasks, jobs and services which appear and call for new skills and     knowledge to deal with new services, goods, inputs and technologies previously unfamiliar to the area.

Not all the developing countries of the world would follow the agricultural productivity approach just described or have a similar pattern for rural development this may also be said even for the different regions of a country. In each region there are a great many differences in attitude, belief, culture, tradition, custom, religion, language, socioeconomic and political structure. Regions in a country may also differ in natural resources, basic development potential, economic infrastructure, in their present stage of development and in rural people‘s willingness to adopt new ideas and innovations.

In many developing countries rural areas in proximity to large centers of population and thriving cities have high-potential villages that are modernizing rapidly and sharing in the urban benefits and progress. At the other extreme, one finds societies and economies and badly deprived of all advantages and benefits of their fellow countrymen living in   large cities. In practice, most rural areas of the world are in an intermediate state between these two extremes, moving at their own pace from subsistence agriculture into cash or commercial farming and other rural jobs, and professions.

On the basis of four decades of work in many rural areas of the world and varied circumstances of each developing nation, it is safe to state that no single formula for successful implementation of rural development in these nations can be given, nor is there a standard formula for the type of educational, economic and social change needed to promote that rural development. Education stands unique in that, broadly conceived, it can provide and generate new employment and advance rural development. To exploit this excellent opportunity, the planners, administrators and managers of educational programmes in the developing countries must anticipate and respond to new skill demands and knowledge requirements and prepare both young and adults in rural areas to meet them. It is here that the adaptability and flexibility of informal education becomes so important.

Many developing countries have only recently been paying serious attention to the problems of rural development, and it is during the last 20 years that they have made commitments at national and regional levels. Countries like Japan, the republic of china and Israel have long had serious undertakings in rural development. Rural conditions and so varied, that the experience gained in some well known international projects such as Camilla in Bangladesh, pueblo in Mexico and others can be used only as very broad guidelines for other countries. The complexity of the problems and the scale and scope of rural development under- takings are so immense that the information obtained so far can only be considered as preliminary. However, the reader can draw some general guidelines from these varied experiences. There are, however, several requirements if national planning for rural employment and finally, modernization of rural society in all of its aspects. Some of these requirements are:

  1. The national plans for developing countries must provide for a better balance and integration between rural and urban development.
  2. Considerably more emphasis should be placed on rural development.
  3. A much broader based rural development strategy, covering all the critical factors, forces and problems particular to the area or regions of the specific developing nation and geared to a more realistic, practical range of rural development goals and objectives must be sought.
  4. Rural developments can not be synonymous with agricultural development in terms of greater production per unit of input or area of farm crops.
  5. Rural development should be viewed in terms of profound transformation of social and economic development with emphasis on creation of and balanced distribution of benefits in the general social context include:
    1. improvements in housing, health and nutrition
    2. Generation of new employment.
    3. More equitable  distribution of income
    4. Greater opportunity in terms of arable land and farming inputs
    5. A strong voice for all rural people in shaping the decisions made; greater opportunity offered to them for action and participation in matters that affect their lives directly or indirectly.
    6. Much greater opportunity for all individuals in rural areas to realize the full potential of their talents through training and education.
    7.   Use of diversified efforts to support ignorance, unemployment, illiteracy, poverty, disease, discrimination , injustice and many other social  and economic disadvantages  which continue to afflict rural people in many parts of the world.

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

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