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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- All show marked agricultural development and increased food production
- The major investments have been in essential infrastructure projects such as roads, dams, irrigation systems, marketing systems, land reform and storage facilities
- Research policy has been directed at innovations intended to increase farm production, and save on labor material, time and capital
- Manpower training has primarily been in the essential area of agricultural extension, education, cooperatives, credit and finance institutions
- Prices of farm products have been regulated and new export markets have been found.
- Industrial development mostly linked to agricultural development, has been given high priority.
- Incentives such as guaranteed prices, when announced in advance, have boosted production.
- 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 ~~