change and development

change and development - Using agriculture as part of a...

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Using agriculture as part of a development strategy in developing countries A common characteristic in developing countries is agriculture being the existing industry of major proportions, frequently being the only one (Johnston & Mellor, 1961). Often 40% - 60% of the national income is generated by agriculture, involving 50% - 80% percent of the population as a labour force (Johnston & Mellor, 1961). This highlights the existing relative lack of agricultural productivity in these developing countries. With this in mind, one can appreciate the reasons behind agriculture being targeted for rapid development. It has been the case that many developing countries, such as India during the sixties and Nigeria during the seventies (Roy, 1990), have launched massive development projects within their agricultural sectors aimed at improving productivity. It is this development format that shall be considered. How does a developing country instigate development? What the reasons are behind the strategies, the methods used, and problems encountered, whilst also questioning the sustainability of the process. Agriculture is often the first sector that experiences a developmental input. The first notions that need to be considered when viewing this developmental change are the reasons behind this driven process. Most agriculture can be seen as a mechanism of food production, with the aim of meeting the needs and demands of a population. Ignoring political inputs and other involvements, on a basic level, if these needs are not met, people may experience times of scarcity or even famine. If one considers current population growth patterns within developing countries, uniformity emerges. Developing countries, in general, are experiencing population growth (Coale & Hoover, 1958). For example, India has been estimated to be experiencing a 1.5 – 3 % growth in population per year (Johnston & Mellor, 1961). With this growth comes a natural increase in the demand for food. Thus the agricultural sector of these developing countries must respond in a suitable fashion so as to prevent impending food availability issues. Coupled with a population increase within a nation, an observation on the urban growth rate must also be made. As a nation’s population grows, it is often the urban areas that experience the fastest growth rate. On average the 1
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developing countries of the world have experienced a growth from 17.2% to 26.1% of the population living in an urban area (Preston, 1979). Within these developing countries, as mentioned previously, 50-80% of the population are involved within the agricultural industry (Johnston & Mellor, 1961). Of this figure, the vast majority are in rural residence, and upwards of 85% of these residences can be considered to be self sufficient in food production (Barker & Huyami, 1976). Quantified, this refers to the ability to produce enough food to meet the needs of their own household, and if involved in a business front, also enough to take to market for profit making purposes (Pretty, 1995). If this
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change and development - Using agriculture as part of a...

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