This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Gerdien Meijerink & Pim Roza
1. Introduction Those of us who preach the gospel of agriculture with evangelical zeal find the text compelling and convincing. We are regularly possessed by the spirit only to look around and see out colleagues, in other sectors, in country management, or even our senior management doubting, yawning or subtly edging towards the door. We face the implicit query, ³If agriculture can do such great things, why have they not yet happened?´1
The past decade has been one of agro-pessimism. The promises that agricultural development seem to hold did not materialise. This pessimism seemed to coincide with pessimism about Sub-Saharan Africa. Especially for Sub-Saharan Africa the hope was that economic development would be brought about by agricultural development. After the success of the green revolution in Asia, the hope was that a similar agricultural miracle would transform African economies. But this hope never materialised, agricultural productivity did not increase much in SSA (figure 1), and worse, the negative effects of the green revolution in Asia became more apparent, such as pesticide overuse and subsequent pollution. Also in Asia the yield increases tapered off. The sceptics put forward several arguments why agriculture is no longer an engine of growth2. For instance, the liberalisation of the 1990s and greater openness to trade has lead to a reduction in the economic potential of the rural sector: cheap imported Chinese plastic buckets out compete the locally produced pottery. On the other hand, it does mean cheaper (imported) supplies. With rapid global technical change and increasingly integrated markets, prices fall faster than yields rise. So, rural incomes fall despite increased productivity if they are net producers3. The integration of rural with urban areas means that healthy young people move out of agriculture, head to town, leaving behind the old, the sick and the dependent. It is often also the men who move to urban areas, leaving women in charge of the farm. This has resulted in the increased sophistication of agricultural markets (and value chains) which excludes traditional smallholders, who are poorly equipped to meet the demanding product specifications and timeliness of delivery required by expanding supermarkets. The natural resource base on which agriculture depends is poor and deteriorating. Productivity growth is therefore increasingly more difficult to achieve. Finally, multiplier effects occur when a change in spending causes a disproportionate change in aggregate demand. Thus an increase in spending produces an increase in national income and consumption greater than the initial amount spent. But as GDP rises and the share of agriculture typically decreases, the question is how important these multiplier effects are, especially when significant levels of poverty remain in rural areas, which is the case in middleincome countries4. The disappointment with agriculture led many donor organisations to turn away from agriculture, looking instead to areas that would increase the well-being of poor people, such as health and education. Those organisations that still focused on agriculture, such as the CGIAR, were put under pressure to focus more on reducing poverty, besides increasing agricultural productivity. However, since the beginning of the new century, there seems to be a renewed interest in agriculture. A review of major policy documents5, including the well-publicised Sachs report and the Kofi Annan report, show that agriculture is back on the agenda again. The most influential report, however, has been the World Development Report 2008 of the World Bank6. This report argues that growth in the agricultural sector
contributes proportionally more to poverty reduction than growth in any other economic sector and that therefore alone, the focus should be on the agricultural sector when achieving to reach MDG 1. A reassessment of the role of agriculture in development seems to be required. This policy paper addresses several timely though complex questions: First, how can or does agriculture contribute to economic development, and in particular how does it relate to poverty? Second, the agricultural sector has changed considerably in the past decades: what are the main drivers of this change? Third, what is the relationship between economic or agricultural growth and pro-poor development? Fourth, how does agriculture relate to other sectors in the economy? Fifth, who is included and who is excluded in agricultural development, specifically focusing on
small farms? And finally, if agricultural development is indeed important to economic development, then why, despite all the efforts and investments, has this not led to more successes?
2. Agriculture and economic growth
This section presents a number of factual observations describing how the agricultural sector changed in terms of productivity, contribution to economic growth, and indicating the relevance of the agricultural sector for poverty alleviation in different regions. Background: some facts In the discussion of the role of agriculture in economic development, a leading question is how agriculture contributes to economic growth, and especially to pro-poor growth. There seems to be a paradox in the role of agriculture in economic development. The share of agriculture contributing to GDP is declining over the years (see figure 1). At the same time, the productivity of for instance cereal yields has been increasing (see figure 2). It seems that as agriculture becomes more successful, its importance declines in the overall economy. Of course, other sectors in the economy can be even more successful, such as the Asian Tigers.
4. Economic development and pro-poor growth ³What makes some countries rich and other poor? Economists have asked this question since the days of Adam Smith. Yet after more than two hundred years, the mystery of economic growth has not been solved´39. What is economic growth
In this section we will briefly consider what determines economic development, how agriculture features in this and whether economic growth (i.e. through agricultural development) contributes to poverty reduction. What determines economic growth, or more broadly economic development, is a topic of much research. There are several factors that should be taken into consideration, and we will briefly scan these here40. First, the accumulation of physical (machines, equipment, and structures) and human capital (education and training embodied in the labour force) are important explanatory factors for economic growth, but only explain part of the variations across countries. Technological and institutional factors influence the rate of accumulation of capital and therefore they are more fundamental explanations for growth. Second, besides accumulation of capital, total factor productivity (TFP)41 is an important element in explaining economic growth. Improving the quality of inputs (e.g. labour through education, physical inputs through technological innovation) as well as improving the organisation of production and distribution increases productivity to a large extent and thus are an important determinant of growth (see section 2.3.1). There have been several studies that explored the (positive) relationship between investments in agricultural research and development and explored increases in TFP42. Third, capital, knowledge and innovation flows between countries are important. Foreign trade and investments affect the incentives to innovate, imitate and use new technologies and thus countries¶ income levels are interdependent. Free trade is a politically sensitive issue, as is illustrated by the suspension of the WTO Doha trade rounds in 2006. On the one hand, trade enables a country to make use of innovations abroad, import products and to export its produce, on the other hand, it faces competition of other countries. Thus, (Helpman, 2004)concludes that international trade does not necessarily lead to the convergence of growth rates between countries. Second, even when it does, it does not necessarily lead to faster growth for all countries. Whether trade can encourage growth of income per capita depends on several factors. Lower trade barriers promote growth when it is
effected in combination with a stable and non-discriminatory exchange-rate system, prudent monetary and fiscal policies and corruption-free administration of economic policies43. It is not evident that these conditions always prevail in developing countries. We will discuss the effect of trade on poverty in section 2.2.2. Finally, a (recent) surge of research has focused on the effects of economic and political institutions on
storage. But there are also consumption links as farmers and farm labourers spend their increased incomes on goods and services in the local (rural) economy. 12 In a comprehensive study on the effect of agricultural development on the poor in Tanzania. Helpman46 cites various authors47 who show that although geographical traits of a country play a role.e. . Finally. and improvements in labour productivity in agriculture had little marginal effect on the average income of the poorest49. Poverty reduction was greater among male-headed households than among female-headed households. This understandably led to much controversy. 2005)54 finds that the significant reforms that had been implemented during the 1990s (e. especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. credit targeted to the poor. The effect on farm economy is achieved through higher incomes for farmers. 2002)instigated a lively debate.g. Therefore. on a national level. In many countries markets do not function well (see chapter 4) and infrastructure is inadequate. since the consensus of empirical work suggests that it is distributionneutral. Positive effects on the rural economy are achieved by creation of more jobs in agriculture and the food chain. poverty constrains growth51. These include production links both ³upstream´ from the farm in demand for inputs and services for agriculture as well as ³downstream´ from the farm in the demand for processing.. In such cases farm produce cannot be treated as a tradable and increased output leads to major decreases in output prices. rural economy and national economy.3). If economic growth is relevant but a rather blunt instrument for reducing poverty. (Minot. Institutions therefore play a prime role48. but not sufficient. 2001)52 identify effects of agricultural growth on farm economy. The headcount poverty rate declined. what about agricultural growth? Does agricultural growth contribute to reducing the poverty of small-holder farmers? It seems that agricultural growth does contribute to poverty reduction. Other findings qualify these results by noting that although economic growth raises the income of the poor on average. there is more potential for growth ± i. land redistribution. which is not really surprising. They found that there is a clear link between national income and poverty incidence. North44 especially. being landlocked). However.economic growth and has shown the importance of these for economic growth. The much-cited study by(Dollar and Kraay. men can take more advantage of opportunities created by market liberalisation than women. an increase in agricultural output tends to decrease food prices and benefiting consumers and net purchasers of food (which may include farmers). there are variations across countries50. roughly. as well as how institutional failures have contributed to economic deterioration of societies. by equal amounts in urban and rural areas.g. In other words. Thus reducing poverty by enhancing asset ownership for the poor (e. The effect depends a great deal on the degree to which farm production is tradable and the associated price elasticity of demand53. both urban and rural spend a greater proportion of their incomes on food they benefit relatively more. notably Jeffrey Sachs45. the gains in poverty reduction were greater among less educated households than among more educated households. In some cases growth might even contribute to more inequality. Interestingly. low food prices are often an objective of governments. and education) has emerged as important mechanisms to make growth µpro-poor¶. is that they argued that policies usually considered as important in reducing poverty such as public spending on health and education. they have no direct impact on its income per capita once the effects of institutions are accounted for. Some authors. has been instrumental in showing how institutional innovation have contributed to economic development. have argued that geography plays a major role in attaining economic growth. one can state that growth alone is a rather blunt instrument for poverty reduction. More surprising however. and transport of produce (see section 2. through investment in infrastructure. market liberalisation) have led to increased growth rates and a reduction in poverty. In general. Briefly we will discuss the ³geography versus institutions´ debate. including smallholders who constitute a large share of the rural poor. A more important finding is that the growth-poverty relationship works the other way too: in a situation where there is less inequality. Technological know-how is necessary for success. in several ways. which may be related to the fact that less educated households live in rural households. (Irz et al. Does economic growth lead to poverty reduction? Much has been written about the relationships between economic growth and poverty reduction. Chapter 4 deals with this issue more in-depth. Since the poor. including factors such as climate or access to seaports (vs. It is also achieved through more employment as on-farm labour demand rises per hectare because the area cultivated increases or frequency of cropping increases.
Multilateral trade liberalization (in this case removal of export subsidies) will probably increase the world prices of these imports and thereby the terms of trade. Furthermore the first-round effects cannot always be measured since the consumption and production decisions of poor rural households often cannot be separated. These tradables consist of agriculture. According to (Dollar and Kraay. Multilateral agricultural trade liberalization particularly affects two groups of developing countries. trade and investment regimes in many developing countries have been liberalized. At the same time agriculture is often the major source of income for the poor and farm incomes and has a large spill over to others in the rural economy. From their review of empirical literature on the trade-poverty relationship (Rodríguez and Rodrik. According to McCulloch. some may be sold only in local markets that are quickly saturated. trade protection is not good for economic growth. as they used to favour this region. while at the same time domestic agricultural producers are better able to compete with the imported products. In case of trade liberalization the effect on the poor household depends on the net position the household has with regard to consumption of the affected good(s). since they have an immediate impact on the household. When the liberalization of good X will lead to a price increase. Consumers in developing countries will have to pay higher prices for their 13 products. and thus employment and wages. since the majority of the poor live in rural areas. The debate about the effects of trade on poverty is often dominated by the question whether opening up to trade leads to higher economic growth. where they will receive relatively higher prices. They see agriculture as µthe key sector for nearly all poverty analysis¶. The role of agricultural trade56 The engine of economic growth in low-income countries consists of tradables that can be sold. the World Bank has drawn two careful conclusions in an attempt to summarize the current stance of the debate: 1. Other economists are more sceptical about the trade-growth relationship. since the poverty impact on the household will be the sum of different positive and negative price shocks. 2000)conclude that there is µlittle evidence that open trade policies [«] are significantly associated with economic growth¶. tradable services (such as tourism or IT). Most rural households in developing countries are both consumer as well as producer. and it will gain if it is a net producer of the same good. Minot55 also found that large gains in poverty reduction were found in the Southern Highlands. Stimulating agricultural production of crops in these areas will therefore not lead to economic growth. Major exporters with a comparative advantage in agriculture will profit from increased access to markets in developed countries. The above mentioned impact of trade liberalization on major importers points towards the importance of the net supply position of the poor household. 2. They produce food for their own consumption as well as for the market. . Recognizing the lack of consensus in the debate. and through its impact on the government¶s fiscal position (taxes and spending). The World Bank62 further argues that µopenness to trade has been a central element of successful growth strategies¶. Agricultural trade and trade reforms to facilitate trade influence economic growth substantially. During recent years. where the removal of fertiliser subsidies and maize transport subsidies were expected to have negative consequences. At the same time they buy other food products which they do not produce themselves. profits of enterprises. This points to the importance of growth in offsetting the negative effects of reforms such as removing subsidies.where poverty reduction has been significant. usually into deep markets57 abroad58. but not all agricultural production can be seen as tradables. When a household both produces and consumes different goods that are liberalized at the same time. 2004)61 there is a certain consensus about the belief that openness to international trade accelerates development. Important to know is how much multilateral agricultural reforms affect the economy of a developing country and especially what the impacts are on poor rural households. manufacturing and overseas migration (in the form of remittances). Furthermore food makes up an important share of all poor people¶s expenditure. Major importers often profit from cheap subsidized food imports from developed countries. the poor household will lose if it is a net consumer of good X. This has been accompanied by a global process of increased international trade and investment and structural changes in the global food markets59. the first round effects can be quite complex. trade openness by itself is not sufficient for growth63. This seems to be self-evident. These direct price effects are called µfirst-round effects¶. Many (staple) crops are produced not for the market but for home consumption. Winters and Irera60 trade liberalization affects the (rural) poor through three pathways: price transmission (distribution).
caused by the reaction of the poor household on the direct price effects. policy makers have frequently paid little attention to the rural non-farm sector73.65 find that there is a good amount of evidence that poorer households face more difficulties protecting themselves against adverse effects or taking advantage of positive effects from trade reform. second-round effects. but will also change the long-term variance of prices and incomes. tools and inputs. The policy implications of linkages between the agricultural and non-agricultural sector are particularly important. If trade liberalization is implemented with special focus on the poor. especially the vulnerable poor rural households will have difficulties in coping with this variability of prices. Linkages between agricultural and non-agricultural sector ³The rural non-farm sector is a poorly understood component of the rural economy of developing countries and we know relatively little about its role in the broader development process´ 72. Moving away from the traditional paradigm that rural and agriculture are the same has proven difficult. Winters et al. which partly depends on the functioning of markets in rural areas. rather than from production on their own plot of land. the nature of institutions and the extent of involvement of the poor in policy-shaping institutions and processes64. it can be a good means to tackle poverty71. the household can influence the impact of trade liberalization on its own welfare position.67 see a role for the government to provide effective pro-poor policies that help the poor reacting on trade liberalization. Many rural development policies often continue to ignore or fail to put sufficient emphasis on the role of the rural non-farm sector. The degree to which assets are distributed equally within a country strongly impacts the way in which trade liberalization shocks are transmitted to poor households. but they are often administratively complex and expensive. These could take the form of safety net measures.The size of the effects of trade reforms depends also on the ability of the household to respond and adapt to the changes. This is inherent to the vulnerable position of most poor households. When this is the case. As stated above. Even in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). The governments of developing countries thereby need to ensure that increased agricultural incomes filter through the poor. the access of the poor to land is particularly important in determining their ability to benefit from agricultural trade liberalization. land redistribution and improved access to inputs and credit. which often survive on a narrow margin66. since in general poor households do not have much 14 influence on the asset distribution. the poverty situation may be adjusted by more indirect. they should take more advantage of their most valuable asset: their own labour70. Winters et . it is at the same time one of the most cost effective anti-poverty policies available to governments. Winters et al. Trade liberalization will not only cause direct price effects. Although trade liberalization is not always among the most important determinants of poverty reduction. Although the first-round effects have the largest impact on poor rural households. Secondly. In the agricultural sector. The household¶s ability to adjust to direct price effects will in the end determine the overall welfare effect of the price shock. For example. The result of this reaction to the growing variability of prices was that average real incomes increased but overall welfare decreased. due to the same variability68. the question here again is to which degree farm production can be perceived as tradable. For example in a land-abundant country with a skewed distribution of land. Thus. and its synergies with agriculture. This can be done by policies such as extension services. Specific pro-poor policies might be more targeted to the poor than trade liberalization. and this has resulted in the marginalization of some groups in rural areas. The production and consumption substitutions will transmit the initial price shock to other markets. A case study from Madagascar shows that small rice farmers reacted to the rice reforms of 1980 (the mean price rose by 42% and price variance by 53%) by increasing their output in order to compensate for the higher variability. The source of income (and the availability of alternative income sources) is an important variable in determining the impact of external shocks on households69. when a poor household succeeds in switching consumption away from and production towards goods whose price has risen. 5. This ability is determined by the access to assets. This is the case when a rural economy is shifted from local price-determination to an economy following fluctuating world prices. the majority of the poor will probably earn their income from working in employment. Rural development programmes have traditionally tended to increase agricultural production but have often neglected (rural) non-farm activities such as the processing of raw agricultural materials and the manufacturing of agricultural equipment. both conceptually and operationally.
The spatial relationship between rural non-farm activities and different types of agricultural activities are not well understood and are potentially important. If we want to know what the role of agriculture is in economic development. 1982-3 1.87 Hazell & Ramasamy 1991 Sierra Leone. The early development literature of the 1950¶s was rather pessimistic about the possibilities of spurring agricultural growth81. there is a growing realisation that the traditional role of agriculture is too narrow76. 1989 Tamil Nadu. 1985-86 Ranging from 1. Johnston-Mellor linkages look at product markets and the productive interactions by which industry and agriculture. . empirical evidence on the processes and distributional implications of participation in certain types of non-farm activities remain ambiguous. countries that have eased the profound urban bias in economic policy experience faster growth both in agriculture and in other sectors because resources are allocated more efficiently. In another example. a host of literature showed that not only was agriculture capable of productivity growth and responsive to technological change (on which the ³green revolution´ was based). with respect to development policy. Ashley and Maxwell75 observe a crisis in rural development. We will examine these linkages more closely in this section. 1972 1.2. 1984-85 Niger. the separated focus of agriculture (under the Ministry of Agriculture) and rural non-farm activities (under the Ministry of Commerce. Secondly. since additions to farm income have typically been spent on goods that are considered to be either imports to rural localities or displacements of potential exports from these77. offering manageable and internationally agreed solutions to clear and well-understood problems. growth in agriculture improves the general food supply and nutritional levels. rural development has lacked a convincing narrative. These will be explored in section 2. see table 2. which in turn improves the overall economy. Third.35 Haggblade et al. especially labour and capital. Likewise. it is unclear where rural non-farm activities are located ± whether they tend to cluster in certain areas or whether specific types of activities tend to cluster thereby creating agglomeration economies. the importance of agriculture in economic development is often reflected by its share in total GDP. we need to take a broader view of agriculture and recognize the numerous ways in which agriculture links up and plays an important role in other sectors of the economy.74 identify several factors for this apparent neglect. Three different views have been posited to explain linkages between agriculture and the rest of the economy. On similar lines. 1974-5 1. Industry and Tourism) has not lead to an integration of the two in development policies and programmes.. which has for long been central to the development effort. 1991 Burkina Faso.31 ± 4.. both grow more quickly.62 Delgado et al. and reveal the ways in which higher productivity in agriculture is reflected in the rest of the economy. For example. but also that the agricultural sector can have significant multiplier effects and therefore growth in the agricultural sector could be spread to other sectors in the economy. Backward and forward linkages Rural income growth from increased crop production can have multiplicative effects on a region when that income is re-spent on local goods and services that would not otherwise have had a market outlet. Yet it has been more difficult to demonstrate the existence of such spin-offs from crop growth in Africa.. These spin-off effects on local activities from the spending of increased farm incomes are called ³agricultural growth linkages.3. First. Recent studies have found positive linkages also in 15 Africa. 1989-90 Senegal.´ and they were shown to be an important element in the creation of rural industry in Asia following the Green Revolution in cereals production. 1989-90 Zambia. Study location and time Multiplier estimated Source* Malaysia. Agricultural growth can lead to strong multiplier effects in the non-farm economy79. by supplying one another with products. India. Non-market linkages are based on relationships among different sectors. The DFID policy paper ³Growth and poverty reduction: the role of agriculture´78 sees a major role for agriculture in development through the linkages of the agricultural with the non-agricultural sector. food security has a direct impact on social stability.83 Haggblade et al.al. reflecting a loss of confidence in the rural development µproject¶.83 The Lewis linkages focus on factor markets. 1994b Table 2 Multipliers from increases in farm output to other sectors 80 Traditionally. In policy terms. 1994a Delgado et al. After the groundbreaking work of Schultz82 and his ³efficient farmer´ hypothesis.
spatially and socially specific95. In rural areas. the most recent additions to this literature have found agricultural growth multipliers in SubSaharan Africa to be substantially larger than previously thought (Delgado et al. transaction costs and internal and external competition. investments in nonfarm opportunities are often related to ethnic or kinship ties. Recent empirical work on the regional level has specifically measured the Johnston-Mellor linkages. The ability of farmers to respond to demand depends on marketing conditions. Traders and middlemen are often perceived as inherently exploitative but can in fact play an important role in providing credit and information to producers92. Providing food for domestic consumption. operating through both production and consumption. The non-agricultural sector can be present in rural areas as well as urban areas. the nonagricultural sector consists mostly of micro-enterprises (employing 9 or fewer workers) and small enterprises (10-49 workers). in which they identify five types of inter-sectoral linkages that highlight agriculture's role in economic growth. 1998)88. Indeed. post-harvest storage facilities. relations between producers. Lack of storage and processing facilities and high transport costs increase the vulnerability of these trade networks93. These forward and backward linkages86. 2. For instance. 1994)89 calculated the economic growth multiplier associated with additional agricultural income in Kenya and found it to be nearly three times the magnitude of the growth multiplier for non-agriculture. transport and communication networks. Enlarging the market for domestic industrial output. Releasing labour for industrial employment. traders and consumers. Poor physical infrastructure can have farreaching consequences on producers¶ prices.The debate on the role of agriculture in economic growth is centuries old. as inadequate roads usually entail very high transport costs. 5. Finally. Access to urban markets is key to increasing incomes for rural and peri-urban farmers91. The development of rural non-farm employment opportunities for households or individuals is thus highly temporally. A dollar of agricultural income generates an additional $0. Three aspects determine the success of rural-urban linkages: physical infrastructure. household endowments (land. Urban cities influence rural economic growth especially in crop and livestock production. finding substantial growth multipliers from exogenous increases in agricultural income87. play an important role94. limiting access to non-farm opportunities to subsets of a rural population. This and related simulations suggest that economic growth strategies for countries like Kenya should give high priority to supporting the agricultural sector.23 of 16 income in the wider economy. The influence of cities on agriculture is not evenly spread across rural areas and has been recorded as favouring those areas near to urban markets97. reliable and affordable transport. and information on how markets operate. In studies of the factors influencing individuals participation in non-farm employment. the realization that agriculture is central to the growth process in poor countries is relatively recent84. Agricultural growth plays an important role in stimulating local economies98. local traders operating on a small scale are often the only link with markets. (Block and Timmer. including price fluctuations and consumer preferences (see also chapter 4).. yet. Earning foreign exchange. 3. The type of local agriculture will play an important role in determining the type of agro-processing or distribution services taken up by the rural enterprises. . Spatial proximity to markets does not necessarily improve farmers¶ access to the inputs and services required to increase agricultural productivity. include: 1. The discussion in recent decades has been shaped by Johnston and Mellor's classic article85.63 of income outside the agricultural sector. while a dollar of non-agricultural income generates only $0. In areas where production volumes are small and scattered between several small farms. labour and capital) and individual characteristics. Increasing the supply of domestic savings. including road networks. Studies show that West African cities are consuming over 80% of farm produce and thus have a significant economic impact on the rural economy96. particularly education and gender. these studies have found the growth multipliers from agriculture to exceed those from non-agriculture. Farm product may also be processed or distributed by (rural) enterprises. These enterprises are becoming increasingly important and contribute significantly to employment in rural areas (non-farm employment)90. In general. 4.
Basically he outlined that proximity to urban centres will determine cropping patterns.The rising incomes of small farmers and agro-processors are typically spent on locally provided goods and services. (iii) self-employment or wage labour. many of which are supplied by ± or employ ± poor people (for example local traders. saving on transport costs and the ability to provide perishable products quickly to markets. peri-urban agriculture can benefit by being close to urban centres. prices. carpenters etc) in villages and small towns. But increasing evidence is being brought forward that farmers do not live by farming alone. These "Lewis"-type linkages through factor markets are complemented by the Johnston-Mellor linkages. Factor markets are the markets where factors of production (labour. such as many regions in Africa. agriculture is no longer profitable and here land is left in its natural state (e. Using such a three-way classification allows a study of the dependence of rural households on the local or more distant economies. In the literature different terms (off-farm. labour and capital Agriculture is a source of both labour and capital for non-agricultural production.g. off-farm employment can constitute as high as 40% of rural household income107. The location of agro-industrial systems in rural areas may also increase the value of land as well as cropping patterns. It is estimated that rural non-farm income presents on average 42% of rural income in Africa. or the . which is based on (i) sectors as defined in national accounts. as it has. (ii) location distinguishing at-home. non-traditional) are used interchangeably. Estimates of the multiplier effects of increased farm output on other sectors range from 1. and the farmers may be pressured to sell their land. which can be enhanced by good infrastructure (such as roads). and other advantages are present (such as available cheap land or water resources) it might be worthwhile to grow high value crops in relatively remote areas (such as roses in Kenya or Vietnam). Peru and Bolivia104. Factor markets: land. for instance in peak 17 periods (such as during weeding or harvesting). land or capital) are traded and the equilibrium price of the factor is determined. Economics has ignored geographical features and spatial dimensions for a long time (amongst others. which operate primarily through input and output markets101. Areas that are remote usually focus for a large part on subsistence crops and livestock.999. with some products being traded in the local markets. while non-perishable crops (such as cereals) will be grown further away. (local) intersectoral linkages. for example in horticultural areas of Chile. Labour: Non-farm employment For a long time it was assumed that opportunities outside the agricultural sector were limited and therefore the labour market was incomplete. with competing claims from the non-agricultural sector (e. brick-makers. transport costs and multiple markets are introduced. due to modelling difficulties). especially when they have a comparative advantage over more remote regions in having access to a large consumer market. This in turn boosts the demand for agricultural produce and hence increases rural incomes ± the so-called virtuous circle of rural-urban development100. A land market may not be functioning because farmers do not have the right to sell their land. 2001)108. non-farm. but recently the topic has received renewed interest105. or even be evicted. non-agricultural. We will use the three-way classification proposed by (Barrett et al. Factor markets are often missing or incomplete in rural areas. On the one hand. Von Thunen was the first to model this. But when land prices increase significantly. or incomplete because selling and buying of land is hardly taking place. Once differences in land productivity. and the agricultural sector103. Land Land use is often influenced by the proximity of (urban) markets. In very remote areas. Even in areas with predominantly subsistence agriculture. Land often becomes a scarce and valuable resource in peri-urban areas. labour is scarce and cannot be hired in or out (as all family labour is tied up). 32% in Asia and 40% in Latin America106. local awayfromhome and distant away from-home (domestic of foreign migration). and his basic insights are still relevant. Perishable crops (such as vegetables) will be grown near the centre. rural-urban linkages. construction of housing or industry).g. nature reserves). Factor markets for labour are also often incomplete. the value of their production may be too low to justify continuation of agriculture in that region. the analysis becomes more complex but the basic insights of the importance of location and transport cost in determining land use remain102.3 to 1. When infrastructure from these remote areas to urban areas exists..
Other mechanisms are contract farming whereby the buyer of produce will pre-finance inputs such as fertiliser. Furthermore. China is a case in point. . Non-farm income is increasingly an important source of 18 revenue in rural areas. even in traditional subsistence areas such as many regions in Sub-Sahara Africa. But even when push factors are involved. When there is an increase in labour demand due to a boom in a certain industry (e. 1998)110 argue that it will be the non-poor households rather than the poor ones who will diversify their income sources more. Pull factors include an inadequate farm output (either because of short term reasons. Inclusion and exclusion: the role of small farms ³«the only part of agriculture in developing countries that will continue to grow significantly faster then population in the next twenty years is the high value sector. an absence of or incomplete crop insurance and consumption credit market. These small loans made a huge difference in their lives. they must either be part of the shift to high-value agricultural production or increase the share of income they get from non-agricultural sources. and farmers switch to crops that are less labour intensive. In times of crop failure. Households whose members have migrated (temporarily) to cities often shift to one-season rice. (Reardon et al.. with virtually no possibilities to save money with interest and borrowing money usually comes at a high cost. risks of farming. the analysis in the preceding section suggests that unless smallholders become vertically integrated with processors and retailers. Non-farm cash income can bridge this gap. e. it is more a sign of the poor condition the rural sector is in. forces outside the rural economy will influence the labour use and overall sectoral composition of the rural non-farm economy. An increasing flow of migrants to the city will thus magnify the shift away from rice and towards capital intensive but labour extensive livestock production. The implications for the vast mass of smallholder farmers («) are sobering: to significantly improve their incomes per capita over the next twenty years. When labour markets are increasingly linked. 19 6. The Nobel Prize for peace in 2006 was awarded to Mohammed Yunus who founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. such as rice112. an absence or failure of farm input markets or input credit markets which means households need to pay for inputs with their own cash resources. e. which focused on providing small loans to mainly poor women. inducing households to diversify. this limiting the opportunity of rural households to borrow money for investments. The recent years have seen a surge of interest in ³micro-finance´. because they are in a better position to self-finance this diversification. mainly from the rural countryside. rather than offering a real possibility of improving the economic situation of the farm household. induced by better infrastructure and commuting. Its rapidly developing industrial sector has attracted large numbers of cheap labour. Pull factors include better returns in the non-farm sector relative to the farm sector. Capital In rural areas. non-farm income can fill the food deficit. Although such small scale micro-credit schemes can function quite well. capital markets are often incomplete. We will use the second and third categories to denote nonfarm activities. land constraints). This can induce investments in labour-saving technologies111 or labour extensive activities. When opting for non-farm labour. Non-farm employment reduces the amount of µsurplus labour¶ in rural areas and allows rural households to earn other sources of income. The fact that farm households engage in non-farm employment therefore can be a positive sign when pull factors are involved. When push factors are involved.g. Here labour is often a constraint. farm households can be motivated by ³pull´ or ³push´ factors109. Such initiatives bridge the gap between the need of poor people who do not have access to the formal banks as the amounts they want to borrow are too small or they cannot provide any collateral. subcontracting. which induces a stronger shift to two-season rice by households lacking access to this type of off-farm employment. or the textile and construction industry in China).importance of foreign sources of income. Transaction costs are high and interest rates (therefore) as well. local wages can be raised in rural economies. the oil industry in Nigeria in 1980s.g. which means possibilities exist for economic development outside the farm sector. or long term reasons. drought. and location of agro-industrial enterprises in rural or peri-urban regions.g. it does not completely make up for the failing of capital markets.
The second concerns the distribution of rents within vertically coordinated food supply chains. but at the same time may be left behind in the current rapid economic developments characterised by globalisation. The high value chains impose quality and timeliness requirements that are difficult to comply with for small farmers119. but will touch upon landless as well. Forthcoming)118 have found preliminary evidence that this also means they do not invest non-farm income into agriculture (e. thus decreasing their rates of return. national and international markets does not always mean that they can benefit from this access. One of the threats is that poor smallholder households get locked out of markets due to slow progress in participation of their country in the global economy.. According to Dorward and Kydd114 the ³new economy´ (characterized by globalization of trade. thus worsening the terms of trade. vertical change integration etc. Because agriculture is no longer their main focus. Evidence suggests that private vertical coordination efforts can yield important positive effects120. Furthermore. where globalisation intrudes. VC can bring several benefits to farm households. Farmers that are involved in such VC schemes have experienced beneficial effects on output.´113 One of the main concerns in the discussion of agriculture as a driver of change is how this change will affect rural households. Can these households benefit from economic development or are they left behind. (Kydd and Dorward. With the assumption that the rural poor are also small farmers the emphasis has been on supporting small scale-farming. Output prices for many crops (e. But not all farmers can participate in these schemes.g. The position of poor rural households is also influenced by the fact that agricultural markets are characterized by large distortions. which leads to market failure. and at the same time not investing in agriculture at a time when the demands on agricultural production in terms of technology and product quality are increasing. Contracting larger farms in supply chains reduces transaction costs (firms have to deal with a few large forms instead of many small ones). (Kuiper et al. 2001)suggest that the case for the efficiency of smallholder farming may be ³breaking down.they will increasingly have difficulties in participating in increasingly more demanding high-value markets. financial flows and institutions) can both provide opportunities and threats to poor farmers in developing countries. more stable incomes and shorter lean periods. Many small-scale farmers are diversifying their revenues by engaging in non-farm activities. contractual enforcement and finance. and especially poor rural households. There are two potential equity issues with VC schemes121. New technology is often capital-based and requires certain skills that are beyond the scope of many small farmers. Another reason is the physical and institutional isolation of poor households in rural areas.g. both domestically and internationally. including higher welfare. timely payments. There has been a paradigm of agricultural growth based on small-farm efficiency116. non-traditional crops are promoted. Vertical coordination has been identified as an important development for agricultural development (see section 2. widening the gap between rich and poor? We will discuss the role of small farms. since a number of institutional deficiencies limit smallholder areas from taking advantage of market opportunities: inadequate access to information. while many input prices are declining but less fast. But there are several reasons why contracting firms might prefer to contract wealthier farmers. thus leaving out small farms. and ultimately also on incomes through improved access to inputs. and investments. and agricultural modernisation involved increasing use of capital´. It is argued that ³policy trends (liberalization) and autonomous developments in technology and supply chains (globalization) may have made the achievement of broad-based smallholder development more difficult´115. The first concerns the inclusion or exclusion of small farms in contractfarming. Small farms can be drivers of change and play an important role in the rural economy. cereals) are generally declining. Often transaction costs are in excess of the potential benefits of the transaction. by buying fertiliser) Another implication is that they are more likely to invest in food crops (for their own consumption) and not in high value cash crops. In general small farmers pay more for inputs and receive less for outputs than large farms. 20 There is also evidence that the current challenges in agriculture cannot be met by these small farms. which often constitute the poorest households in rural areas. the fact that poor households have access to local. farmers may not see the need to maximise the returns from farming. Ellis and Biggs117 point out that this view has been criticised because it is the rural landless that often constitute the poor and these derive their income from the non-agricultural sector. When some . productivity and product quality.1).
push factors drive farmers to seek alternative income generating activities. A move out of agriculture is therefore not an option for many of these small-scale farmers. Thus female farmers are usually those who attend to the management of the farm while their husbands and sons find (part-time) employment outside agriculture. which may benefit poor households or the landless. In the mid 20th century in Europe. where lack of access to land forms an obstacle to the emergence of commercial farms. In many developing countries however. 2006)122 conclude that in combination. Sometimes.g. we have seen that this constitutes an important livelihood strategy of small and poor farms. but that this was due to the fact that 21 there are fewer members to feed than due to the remittances. although they can help diversify incomes. In the section on non-farm income. Furthermore. The options for small farms to participate in profitable markets but do not participate in beneficial VC schemes are limited. Wouterse125 found for Burkina Faso that households with members who migrated to other African destinations were indeed better off. technology) and limited access to markets (because of their location or because they lack information or networks) may face restrictions in participating in these supply chains. Many others are still excluded. contract-farming and agro-industrial employment are significantly positive. The share of production in developing countries marketed through these supply chains is still small126. Especially small farmers who have limited resources (e. access to land is a competitive strength of small-scale farmers. A second development in VC is the shift from contract farming (of large or small farms) to fully integrating production and agro-industrial holdings.g. This shift is often in response to increasingly stringent food standards. textile). This does not automatically mean that the women have taken over de management of the farm completely. Households whose members migrated to Europe were better off due to increased remittances. Thus. and that is that their production cost in labour-intensive products is often 20-40% lower than that of large-scale commercial farms. rural households maintain their plots of land as a security.amount of investment is needed in order to be able to supply the firm. 2002)127 shows that the rapid growth of supermarkets in Latin America have had drastic impacts for and exclusion of small farmers from supermarket supply chains. small farms may not be able to do so.g. these will still constitute a minority in the total population of small farms. Some firms may choose to prefer a mix of suppliers in order not to become too dependent on a few large suppliers. . as well as the productivity of labour in the agricultural sector (do households members represent additional production or merely extra mouths to feed?). Because the non-farm employment sector is either not sufficiently profitable or uncertain. small-scale farmers also have an advantage which comes up frequently in literature128. investments often still lie (partly) in the hands of the men. In some cases. Thus (Swinnen and Maertens. Small farms lose out in this shift. These reasons would work against small farms. but at the moment. but employment opportunities are increased. vertical coordination can offer good opportunities for small-scale farmers. There seem to be important gender deviations in the general trend of labour moving out of agriculture. Remittances sent back to the farm household by its members who have migrated can be an important source of household income. often the decision-making over e. The rural as well as urban non-farm employment often does not represent substantially more profitable income opportunities. these firms have no choice ± small farmers represent the vast majority of the potential supply base. In many cases. The latter have high overhead and supervision costs and paid labour is generally less motivated than self-employed farmers. supply can be irregular and combining produce into a steady stream of product of constant quality difficult to realize. being more constrained in their financial means. Even when firms contract small farms. On the other hand. supplied produce are usually small and heterogeneous in quality. A study by (Reardon and Berdegué. Vertical coordinated supply chains offer a profitable marketing opportunity to (a relatively small group of) small-scale farmers. including the economic potential of job opportunities outside the farm. many farmers left the agricultural sector to work in upcoming industries (e. this movement cannot be perceived. A slightly increasing feminization of the agricultural labour force in most developing countries may reflect the fact that women are lagging behind men and abandoning agriculture at a slower rate124. In some cases firms do contract small farms. The land they left was taken up by farmers who could increase their farm and become more competitive. The beneficial effect of a move out of agriculture thus depends on several factors. reaching different groups of poor. often extensively managed123.
This is due to the rising capital intensity of agriculture. little access to non-farm income and for whom agriculture is a risky and low subsistence livelihood strategy. supermarkets. there have been uneven outcomes130 and high and rising local inequalities. farm and nonfarm activities and rural and non-rural regions is emphasized. The need for agricultural development is still very much acknowledged. Several countries in Latin America (e.g. which is that although much progress has been made in specific areas and countries. 2005)132 stress that the point is not to maintain millions of small farmers. (Valdés and Foster. and wealth constrained credit markets. 7.only for a small proportion of these. in offering opportunities to rural (poor) households The establishment of safety nets. which is available only to a relatively small group of farmers. participation in these coordinated supply chains is not yet an option. both in economic and geographic terms. as Hazell134 writes ³but safety net programs should not be seen as a substitute for policy support for agricultural development´. but these factors also contribute to the fact that these poor households cannot seize the opportunities that rural development presents. However. although in a new form than a few decades ago. labelling and certification. There are no other markets that offer this kind of growth potential. On the establishments of safety nets. but also the importance of the linkages between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors.g. and unlike many higher value products. Mexico and Brazil) have achieved major success with such programs133. On the other hand. in economic development in developing countries in general. Poverty is caused by a lack of assets and access to risk-coping instruments (health. for those vulnerable poor households who have very little opportunities. What comes out of our analysis is that recent years have seen tremendous changes. or even in rural areas. and contingency on the impact on human capital (e. 2006)131. education). Hazell135 stresses the importance of food staples for low-income countries. vertical coordinated supply chains). Many producer markets for high value products have been successfully privatized and this is in part because of their higher profit margins and greater integration into export and retail markets. This can be done through programs that target poor rural households with income support that is based on the numbers of children in the household. They also point out that capital and insurance market failures are increasing sources of social segmentation with the emergence of the ³new agriculture´. hardly . This coincides with a renewed debate on the role of agriculture. poor rural households and remote (or marginal) areas who are often excluded from the ³new agriculture´ The role of local supply chains and food crops. demands of agro-industry for non-traditional exports. which includes high value crops and quality foods required by urban distribution channels and exports (health standards. but to promote opportunities and mobility of future generations. education and health). For the majority of small-scale farmers. etc. which consists of the production of high value crops and new marketing channels (e. 22 The future of small farms. The objective of such programs is thus not to keep people on the farm. but for the agricultural sector in particular. In this agenda.g. standardized delivery in contracts with supermarkets. But he continues to say that ³it is not only important to recognize that food staples still have a key role to play in many developing countries. inequalities are therefore produced and reproduced by these factors. in spite of the ³microfinance revolution´ that hardly reaches agriculture. whereby the realization of the important role of agriculture is not only reaffirmed. organic foods). there are several key elements: The consequences of ³new agriculture´ as coined by (de Janvry and Sadoulet. food staples also have relatively low credence attributes making them much easier products for small farmers to sell in today¶s markets. Important questions and concerns remain and a new agenda for agriculture is slowly emerging. which we can label the ³local agriculture´ (as opposed to the ³new agriculture´) in rural development and for small farms The role of the non-farm (rural) economy. but also to recognize that the markets for food staples are inherently different from markets for many high value products and need greater public attention. Discussion and conclusion We have covered a very broad topic in relatively few pages. vertical coordinated chains. but to eliminate poverty ± safety nets where agricultural and overall growth is not enough. 2006)129 have made. which might offer more important growth opportunities for many small farmers than the ³new agriculture´. This leads us to the point that (de Janvry and Sadoulet. especially those in remote areas.
as well as the 23 many cross-sector linkages through which agricultural growth supports overall economic growth and the many benefits to society that are not measured by economic growth indicators alone. There is also a growing body of studies showing that important institutional and market failures are to be expected at that level of development´136. seldom analyzed in the context of development. Agriculture thus contributes to (i) environmental services such as soil conservation. policy attention has long focused on agriculture¶s traditional role to provide food. social service benefits and environmental services not captured by markets. (iv) agriculture as a social safety net or buffer in times of crisis. biodiversity. earn export income. (ii) poverty reduction. and produce primary commodities for expanding industries. (iii) food security. Finally. Agriculture plays also an important role in providing indirect non-commodity contributions that are public goods. and carbon sequestration. But the role of agriculture often goes beyond these direct. and rarely reflected in national and rural development policy formulation. This may be due to the fact that the market signals are missing and policy signals are wrong and the lack of information concerning the sector¶s evolving market and non-market roles. . and (v) social viability137. poor infrastructure. low input use. and the like. watershed services. create jobs. A review of 11 case-studies by FAO revealed that these indirect contributions are not well understood. market-mediated contributions. The study underlines the strong interdependence between agriculture and other sectors. high risks.any credible evidence exists to suggest that the private sector can successfully take over the producer market chains for staple foods during the early stages of agricultural development. the amount of profit to be made in market chains for food staples remains low and unattractive for much private investment. low incomes. As farmers struggle with low productivity and high subsistence needs. generate savings and funds for investment.
this is one section. Their income is low and employment irregular. Agricultural workers constitute the most neglected class in Indian rural structure. to assist agricultural labourers and backward classes to come to the level of the rest. Kulamani Padhi It is one of the primary objects of the Five Year Plan to ensure fuller opportunities for work and better living to all the sections of the rural community and. Socially. which has really a very hard time and which is deserving very special consideration. Although there has been tremendous progress in India since Independence. The Prime minister emphasized "We must give special consideration to the landless agricultural labour. cultivators and agricultural labourers engaged in crop production. they have no alternative employment opportunities either.Agricultural Labour in India . they possess no skill or training."1 Seasonal unemployment is a characteristic feature of Agricultural Industry and under . Therefore. This can also be seen from the Prime Minister's speech made in Lok Sabha on August 4. and the employment which they get is extremely irregular.A Close Look Dr. They are not organised and they cannot fight for their rights. 1966. a large number of agricultural workers belong to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. One of the most distinguishing features of the rural economy of India has been the growth in the number of agricultural workers. conditions of work put an excessive burden on them. They usually get low wages. Since. in particular. Because of all these reasons their economic lot has failed to improve even after four decades of planning. The phenomena of underemployment. under-development and surplus population are simultaneously manifested in the daily lives and living of the agricultural labourers. they are a suppressed class.
This concept was based upon the occupation of the worker. 218 day in all. poultry etc. 1. Difficulties in defining agricultural labour are compounded by the fact that many small and marginal farmers also work partly on the farms of others to supplement their income. employment in agriculture then those households should be termed as agricultural labour household. raising of live-stock.L.E. Women workers employed for 134 days in a year. The First Agricultural Labour Enquiry Committee 1950-55 defined Agricultural Labourer as .e. Unlike industrial labour. To what extent should they (or their family members) be considered agricultural labourers is not easy to answer.employment of man power is inherent in the system of family farming. while attached workers were employed for 326 days in a year. it will be useful to refer some of the attempts made by experts in this connection. a separate class of workers depending wholly on wages does not come up.. because it is not possible to completely separate those working on wages from others. If half or more members of household have wage. The reason is that unless capitalism develops fully in agriculture. ."Those people who are engaged in raising crops on payment of wages" 2. adult male agricultural labourers were employed on wages for 189 days in agricultural work and for 29 days in non-agricultural work i. agricultural labour is difficult to define. horticulture. However. used the concept of agricultural labour household. They were self-employed for 75 days.C. The Second Agricultural Labour Enquiry Committee 1956-57 enlarged the distribution to include "Those who are engaged in other agricultural occupations like dairy.E. farming. Therefore. "In the context of Indian conditions the definition is not adequate. There are people who do not work on wages throughout the year but only for a part of it.L. the first A. Casual male workers found employment for only 200 days. According to first A. bees.C.
2. According to the National Commission on Labour "an agricultural labourer is one who is basically unskilled and unorganised and has little for its livelihood.The Second Committee submitted that to know whether a household is an agricultural labour household. persons whose main source of income is wage. we must examine its main source of income. then it could be classed to agricultural labour household. but who work exclusively for others. Agricultural labourers can also be divided in the following manner : 1. Mishra and Puri have stated that "All those persons who derive a major part of their income as payment for work performed on the farms of others can be designated as agricultural workers. The second group can again be divided into . For a major part of the year they should work on the land of the others on wages. who are attached to the land lords. Landless labourers. who are personally independent. If 50% or more of its income is derived as wages for work rendered in agriculture only. Landless agricultural labourers 2. other than personal labour. The first group of labourers have been more or less in the position of serfs or slaves. Farmers who have economic holdings but who have one or more of their sons and dependants working for other prosperous farmers." Classification of Agricultural Labourers : Agricultural labourers can be divided into four categories 1. Very small cultivators whose main source of earnings due to their small and sub-marginal holdings is wage employment. Casual Labourers. 3. they are also known as bonded labourers. Permanent Labourers attached to cultivating households. employment fall in this category. Landless labourers in turn can be classified into two broad categories : 1. Petty farmers with tiny bits of land who devote most of their time working for others and 4. 2. Landless Labourers." Thus.
Share croppers are those who. are generally unskilled workers carrying on agricultural . poses insurmountable difficulties. Permanent or attached labourers generally work on annual or seasonal basis and they work on some sort of contract. Tenants are those who not only work on the leased land but also work as labourers.three subgroups : (i) Cultivators (ii) Share croppers (iii) Lease holders. The main features. to build their effective organization even at the state level not to speak of the national level. Their wages are determined by custom or tradition.6 lakh villages. Agricultural Labourers are Scattered Agricultural labour in India is being widely scattered over 5. who prossess very little land and therefore. of which half have population of less than 500 each. Characteristics of Agricultural Labourers Before any attempt is made to evolve a rational policy to improve the living conditions of agricultural labours which happens to belong to the lowest rung of social and economic ladder. Under second group comes small farmers. also work as labourers. characterizing Indian agricultural labour are as follows : 1. Agricultural Labourers are Unskilled and Lack Training Agricultural labourers. And therefore. there has been no successful attempt for long. any question of building an effective organization. while sharing the produce of the land for their work. They are not attached to any landlords. especially in smaller villages away from towns and cities. Thus as the vast number of agricultural labour lies scattered all over India. On the other hand temporary or casual labourers are engaged only during peak period for work. Their employment is temporary and they are paid at the market rate. like that of industrial workers. it is essential to know the distinguishing features that characterize agricultural labourer in India. has to devote most of their time working on the lands of others as labourers. 2.
there is hardly any escape form hard work and since there is no alternative employment. They live in scattered villages. it is difficult for them to bargain with the land owners and secure good wages. which have been neglected for Orissa Review * February-March . there is direct supervision by the landlord. Government measures to improve their lot by legislation have proved ineffective so far due to powerful hold of the rural elite classes in the rural economy.2007 26 ages. It is only during the sowing and harvesting .operation in the centuries old traditional wages. may not have even heard of modernization of agriculture. The low caste and depressed classes have been socially handicapped and they had never the courage to assert themselves. This is almost difficult in case of farm labour. there are generally more than abundant supply of agricultural labourer in relation to demand for them. Low Social Status Most agricultural workers belong to the depressed classes. Accordingly. 4. agricultural labourers are migratory. There is hardly any motivation for change or improvement. They have been like dump-driven cattle. Since. especially those in small isolated villages with around 500 population. Majority of them are generally conservative. The agricultural labourer has to do all types of work-farm and domestic at the bidding of the landlord. They are illiterate and ignorant. In some parts of India. totalistic and resigned to the insufferable lot to which according to them fate has condemned them. Unorganised Sector Agricultural labourers are not organized like industrial labourers. Demand and Supply of Labour The number of agricultural labourers being very large and skills they possess being meager. Hence they could not organize in unions. moving in search of jobs at the time of harvesting. 5. tradition bound. In urban areas workers could generally organize themselves in unions and it is convenient for political parties to take interest in trade union activities. Most of them. 3.
The above mentioned few important characteristics distinguish agricultural labourers in India from industrial workers. this direct contact between the employer and employees is a distinct feature of agriculture labourer. These are called in different names in different States. The ethnic composition of villages which governs the social stratification is responsible for the survival of the slavish conditions. Agricultural Serfs or Bonded Labourers At the bottom of the agricultural cadre in India are those labourers whose conditions are not very different from those of serfs. Madhya Pradesh. the bargaining power and position of agricultural labourers in India is very weak. The following table-3 indicates the number of bonded labourers identified. No wonder. once the harvesting season is over. Tamil Nadu. the agricultural labour is the most exploited class of people of India. released and . In fact. quite a large number of them are in the grip of village money lenders. where there is single cropping pattern. the farm labourers have been getting very low wages and have therefore to live in a miserable sub-human life. often the same person functioning in all the three capacities. a large aboriginal population live and the condition of this agricultural labours is very much like that of slaves. landlords and commission agents. Kerala. 6. 7. But. Less Bargaining Power Due to all the above mentioned factors. majority of agricultural workers will be jobless especially in areas. Unlike industrial workers.seasons that there appears to be nearfull employment in the case of agricultural labourers. Thus partly because of factors beyond their control and partly because of their inherent bargaining weakness. In Gujarat. Bihar. Orissa. Agricultural serfdom has been most prevalent in those parts of India where the lower and the depressed classes and most in numerous. At the Bidding of the Landlord There is generally direct and day to day 'contact between agricultural labourers and the landlords' on whose farm they are working. Maharashtra. Karnataka.
This means the percentage of agricultural labourers over total labour force.967 According to 1981 census.033 Kerala 829 820 Madhya Pradesh 4.3) (100.8) (22.11) 627.8) (16.0) .3) (38.3 42.199 13.rehabilitated as on 31.20) 439.5) (30.0) 1991@ 844.0) 1961 439.817 Rajasthan 6.4 million.9 (2.5) (100. This can be seen in the following table.912 27 Orissa Review * February -March.12.002 9.4 (74.1 78.770 Tamil Nadu 32.6 188.4) (26.12.5 92.6 74. the number of agricultural workers was 55.336 14.065 27.of bonded Identified. labourers freed & Rehabilitated Andhra Pradesh 61.8) (26.1985 as per the reports received from the State Governments.0) 1971 548. Population and Agricultural Workers Year Total Annual Rural Cultivators Agricultural Other Total Population Compound Population labourers workers (millions) growth rate (millions) (%) 12345678 1951 361.7 (82.8 140.7) (39.472 Gujarat 61 38 Haryana 195 21 Karnataka 62.591 Uttar Pradesh 16. Name of State No.5 96.3) (30.420 Total 1.7 180.1) (100.7% of the total labour force.5 57.1995.655 2.5 55.2 (1.0 (82. which means 22.96) 360.2 (2.5) (1000.1 110.9 27.5 million in 1981 to 110.9) (19.017 Bihar 11.3 99.813 5.2007 Maharashtra 772 319 Orissa 41.6 (76.93.5 54.6 million in 1991.6 69.6) (100. the total number of agricultural labourers was increased from 92.230 Balance 46.1 in 1991. Similarly as per 1991 census.6 31.3 47.6(a) 244.7) (30.7) (49.7) (37.7 in 1981 to 26. Statement showing the number of bonded labourers identified and released as on 31.22) 525.5 (80.0) 1981 685.2 285.1) (43.689 40.581 31. increased from 22.25) 298.6 100.1) (35.46.197 1.0) (52.3 (2.1 (1.
2. Measures adopted by the Government for ameliorating the economic conditions of Agricultural labourers are 1. Source : Registrar General's Office for the data of years 1951 to 1991 Causes for the Growth of Agricultural Labourers : There are a number of factors responsible for the continuous and enormous increase in the number of agricultural labourers in India. Asam has been excluded. Note : Figures in brackets give percentage to total. Capitalistic Agriculture 8. Provision of Housing cities to houseless 5.02) * Estimated population. Decline of cottage industries and handicrafts Orissa Review * February-March . Eviction of small farmers and tenants from land 4. as on 1st March 2000. Spread of the use of money and exchange system 7. Increase in population 2. Measures taken by the Government to improve the Conditions of Agricultural Labourers : The Government has shown awareness of the problems of agricultural workers and all plan documents have suggested ways and means to ameliorate the lot of these people. Break-up of joint family system. (a) Includes marginal workers.2007 28 3. Abolition of Bonded Labourers 3. whereas in respect of data on workers. Special schemes for providing employment i) Crash Scheme for Rural Employment (CSRE) . @ Figures of total/rural population include the projected population of Assam. Displacement of means of subsidiary occupations 9. Disintegration of peasantry 10.2000 987. Providing land to landless labourers 4. Increase in indebtedness 6. Passing of minimum wage Act. The more important among them are : 1. Uneconomic Holdings 5.3 (1.
Improvement the bargaining position. Jawahar Rojgar Yojana (which come in with the merger of NREP and RLEGP) 7. Desert Development Programme 8. Improvements in Agricultural sector 10. Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) 10. Public works programmes should be for longer period in year 7.ii) Pilot Intensive Rural Employment Project (PIREP) iii) Food for works programme (FWP) iv) National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) v) Rural Landless Employment Programme (RLEP) vi) Drought Prone Area Programme (It was known as Rural Works Programme) 6. Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) Suggestions for the Improvement of Agricultural Labours : The following suggestions can be made for the improvement of the socio-economic position of the agricultural labourers : 1. Improving the working conditions 8. 3. National Scheme of Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSM) 9. Creating alternative sources of employment 5. Regulation of hours of work 9. Better implementation of legislative measures. Proper training for improving the skill of farm labourers 12. Credit at cheaper rates of interest on easy terms of payment for undertaking subsidiary occupation. . Abolition of Bonded Labourer Act 11. Cooperative farming. 11. Protection of women and child labourers 6. Resettlement of agricultural workers 4. 2.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.