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
- New technology, innovations and improvements which show definite and clear economic grain for rural households or for the borrower should be adopted.
- Farmers should be using production credit, and also have access to necessary training and skills to m make effective use of innovations and credit
- Existence of good delivery systems which provide the ready and timely inputs required farm produces and the market outlets for them.
- For small farmer, a comprehensive package program which increases the productivity and easy sale of farm product should be arranged.
- 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
- 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 â€˜’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.
- The education of rural people at all levels should be functional in serving specific target groups and meeting their specific requirements.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 ~~