Compare and contrast the concepts of integrated rural development and agricultural transformation with a specific example of a country or a region.
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Agricultural transformation describes the process of shifting the use of individual farms from subsistence-oriented production to serve purposes of specialized products that focus on responding to market systems. Agricultural transformation promotes the integration of various sectors in the domestic and international scope to enhance the delivery of output. Agricultural transformation is a key element of structural transformation in a country because it promotes economic growth, development, and employment due to the overall improvement of various sectors.
Agricultural transformation is one of the major approaches to attaining integrated rural development because agriculture is a common practice in most rural areas. Research shows that agriculture absorbs about 60 percent of the labor force in Africa (Lutz, 1998). Integrated rural development (IRD) involves a variety of approaches to induce activities that will improve the infrastructure and socioeconomic status in rural areas.
Agricultural transformation focuses on the enhancement of farm activities in rural areas while integrated rural development concerns the improvement of livelihoods through agriculture and non-farm activities such as education and small-scale entrepreneurship. For example, the IRD program in the Southern region of Africa encompasses the aspect of agricultural transformation relating to the restocking of animals and non-farm activities that involve brick building projects aimed at promoting social and economic development in various districts in the region.
Women bear a disproportionate burden in the agrarian system of sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In addition, their productivity is low. Explain these statements with specific examples from individual developing economies. What measures/policies have been implemented to deal with these two issues? Once again, discuss with specific examples from individual developing economies.
The greatest percentage of the labor force in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America comprises of women. Women provide the greatest input in food production, harvesting, and weeding in the fields. However, they face limited access to productive resources, which are relevant to the improvement of farm output. In this regard, legal and cultural restrictions on women promote a decline in agricultural production by about 30 percent.
Reports on the food insecurity in the world indicate that women in sub-Saharan Africa own less than 15 percent of the total land. In the same way, the percentage of land under female holders in Latin America is about 20 percent (Otto, 2012). Furthermore, female landowners in Asia represent less than 5 percent of the total land ownership in the region. The enforcement of policies regarding the land distribution and titling is crucial to the increase of women’s access to land and the enhancement of productivity. In sub-Saharan Africa, institutions responsible for land management have undergone decentralization to promote the role of women in growth and development.
In addition, various countries in the region have systems to address customary and statutory laws that restrict land rights for women. Similarly, policies such as the Nicaragua land titling legislation and reforms in constitutions of various Asian countries have increased women’s access to land. Asian countries such as the Philippines are enforcing land-reform laws such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.
What are some of the specific policies aimed at improving the productivity of women farmers in Kenya? Is it possible to adapt the same policy prescription for the productivity of women in India?
The productivity of women farmers in Kenya has improved due to the adoption of policies that provide guidance and support to smallholder farmers. The Kenyan government supports women farmers through organizations such as KEPAWAE, which ensures that farmers have access to farm inputs such as fertilizer and support the training of women in modern agricultural practices. In addition, various financial institutions in Kenya, such as the Kenya Livestock Finance Trust and Kenya Women Finance Trust (KNWA), offer female farmers various forms of financial support and credit at favorable terms of payment.
The policies on providing farm inputs, training, finance, and credit for women farmers in Kenya can improve the productivity of women farmers in India. The lack of supportive systems in India restricts women from traditional farming practices, which lower their productivity. Supporting women farmers in India can considerably improve the output of small farms. Women farmers in India have great knowledge of various attributes of farming, just like the Kenyan women.
What role should the governments play with respect to the agricultural sector in developing countries to align with new industrializations policy in their attempts to alleviate poverty? What type of reform(s) in trade policy is compatible with both developed and developing countries in undertaking such measures in the face of rapid globalization?
Governments should provide farmers with appropriate support through subsidies on farm inputs, and training on modern methods of farming that require the combination of a variety of aspects relating to fertilizers, pesticides and soil fertility. The improvement of the supply of skilled labor is vital to the growth of the agricultural sector because skilled labor promotes effective and efficient production.
The mechanization of farming practices fosters maximization of productivity and profit because it promotes innovativeness and the expansion of markets and trade. The improvement of agricultural productivity requires appropriate environmental laws to mitigate issues that may arise due to intensive farming practices, which hamper agricultural production. The governments in developing countries should adopt policies to transform the agricultural sector to become market-oriented and safeguard farmers in matters relating to exportation and importation. Trade restrictions limit farmers’ access to international markets, information and technology, which can help to improve agricultural production.
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Globalization has helped in reducing the cost of various farm products by minimizing distortions regarding consumption and trade. In this regard, the market for agricultural products has expanded to increase the economic benefits gained in the agricultural sector (Michelmann, 2001). The adoption of trade policies that promote the benefits of globalization is crucial to the economic growth and reduction of poverty in developing countries.
Lutz, E. (1998). Agriculture and the environment: perspectives on sustainable rural development. Washington: The World Bank.
Michelmann, H. J. (2001). Globalization and agricultural trade policy. Boulder, Co.: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Otto, J. M. (2012). Fair land governance: how to legalize land rights for rural development. Leiden: Leiden University Press.