Potentials and Constraints of Rural Development in Zambia
Development is essential for every aspect of life. To improve a nation, the economy has to be developed. Among the socio-economic targets of all countries is the development of the rural areas. Rural development in general is usually used to denote the actions and initiatives taken to improve the standard of living in non-urban neighborhoods, countryside, and remote villages. This paper intends to discuss rural development, how its brought about and the effects both positive and negatives of rural development. The later part of the paper shall explain why this kind of development is every country’s turning point.
Definition We start by dealing with “development”, a term having various meanings. It is the aggregation of intended actions to bring about desirable change. In this case, development is a practice of setting a goal to ameliorate the life of a group and transforming the society by political intervention. According to Agriinfo.
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com, there is no universally accepted definition of rural development. The term is used in different ways in vastly divergent contexts. As a concept, it connotes overall development of rural areas with a view to improve the quality of life rural people.
As a phenomenon, it is the result of various physical, technological, economic, socio-cultural and institutional factors. As a discipline, it is multi-disciplinary in nature representing an insertion of agricultural, social, behavioral and management of science. In short, rural development is a process that aims at improving the standard of living of the people living in the rural areas. Rural development has a few concerns. Two thirds of the total populations in African countries are inhabitants of rural areas. In addition, Agriculture is the most important economic activity for production and employment on many African countries.
Rural development should be enhanced in order to promote such an important agricultural sector. When poverty alleviation came to be the central issue in development, it was natural that the rural areas, where the majority of the poor lived, attracted the major concern. “Rural” in the notion of ‘rural development’ meant in this context a place where the poor live. Overall, the notion of rural development has been strongly linked with the goal of poverty alleviation, and with the framework for development strategy emphasizing not only economic growth but also distribution and equality.
The Constraints of Rural Development The socio-economic living conditions in rural areas show a paradoxical situation: on one hand, high proportion of farmers and cattle breeders should be able to produce enough food for self-sufficiency and sell the surplus at town markets in order to earn income, on the other hand, it is in rural areas that malnutrition prevails and where there is the greatest poverty. This means that the development of rural areas is confronted with serious problems: Transportation; Many rural areas have poor roads, utilities, transport (to market) and social.
It is hard for rural areas to provide raw and processed materials for urban areas and demand for urban goods and services due to poor transportation and bad roads. It is recommended that there should be an upgrade and focus on grading, leveling, gravelling and other maintenance work on rural roads branching off from main trunk roads. The governments can focus on the construction of new farm roads to open up areas that have potential for commercial Agro-based land use. Education: Ignorance and lack of instruction. The peasants of rural areas must utilize fertilizers to produce much more on the cultivable land.
The utilization and good management of fertilizers requires peasants to have a certain knowledge provided by suitable instruction. Studies show 42% of people in rural areas can neither read nor write. About 24% had completed primary school and 5 to 6% complete their secondary schooling. This low level of education is expressed in agriculture and animal husbandry practices by; •The persistence of archaic agricultural techniques •Ignorance of the role of fertilizers and of how to use them Energy: Firewood is practically the only source of domestic energy.
Due to overexploitation of rural areas and unruly methods of farming (chitemene system) it is hard to find trees for firewood. There is also lack of lighting projects. Financial: there has been failure to encourage the development of financial services in the rural areas. Because of this, farmers that are able to produce on a large scale cannot do so due to the fact that there is no source of funding to purchase the required materials. Due to depopulation, the changing face of agriculture and dwindling business in rural areas, the ability to find what we used locally has diminished.
We are forced to look to outside resource agencies for help and to find the resources we once found locally. Access to subsidies and extension services has diminished Water and Sanitation: People in rural areas are not connected to a water supply network and only a few have access to a sewage network. Health: Due to lack of medical care or proper health facilities in rural areas. Outbreaks are easily spread especially with the fact that there is no clean water. According to the UN report, Life expectancy in Sub Sahara Africa has fallen by nine and six years in Botswana and Zambia respectively.
Due to poor health conditions, there is a growing number of adolescent and elderly household heads, causing a growing shortage of productive labour and decreased skills and experience within rural institutions and private companies. Employment: studies for Africa show that 93% of the rural inhabitants use agriculture and fishing as a source of income. Employment is hard to find in rural areas and besides farming and fishing are the only work they can do considering their level of education. Rural Gate Keepers’ Mentality: Rural communities are made up of a social group called the gate keepers.
Gate Keepers are usually people who have lived in the community for years, often clear back to the time when small rural communities were thriving who made living and prospered while raising their children who are now in urban areas. The area was and is still good to them. They don’t want to see new community development come in and take away their legacy. This proves to be one of the most difficult aspects of community development in rural areas. These people often resist big changes. Communication: Rural areas have no or poor communicating devices.
It takes time to fully communicate to every resident in rural areas. There are limited measures of communication due to the restricted flow of information to and within rural communities, lack of available advice and poor financial stat us of most potential beneficiaries in the social and economic context. These restrictions are actually more severe for women who face additional constraints, such as the legal constraints of customary marriage and inheritance laws, both of which reduce their ability to take up economic opportunities.
They are less literate, yet they run the great bulk of small scale enterprises. The greatest challenge and opportunity in rural development comes from the empowerment of women. The Potentials of Rural Development Despite the challenges and constraints of rural development, rural areas have reasons for potential development. The following are some of the potentials of rural development: 1. Rural areas are reservoirs of labour force and a source of cheap food and other primary production to expand into urban economies.
It is easy to take development to the rural areas because the majority of the population in rural areas is willing to be hired or given employment. Manufacture of farming products is considerably more labour intensive. Rural development is possible here because there can be an easy growth of manufacturing industry if the rural members are involved. 2. Family farm development. Rural development is likely because if the development approach is taken during the transition period and focus up on the orientation of the agriculture sector towards the market economy through farm privatization, land restitution and family farm development.
3. Urban Resident’s support. Everyone in the urban residential areas of the Sub-Sahara African countries have relations in the rural areas. Upon learning about the initiative to develop rural areas, they would show their support and perhaps even contribute because they don’t want to lose their relatives to death of poverty. 4. Private Investment. Some rural areas have never been exploited by private firms because the governments have put rural protection policies and in turn prevent private investment in rural areas.
However, if the governments decide to allow private investment in these areas with restriction on exploitation, the rural areas have so much potential to develop. Rural Development is every country’s turning point to economic development Svbic. com defines Economic development as the development of economic wealth of countries, regions or communities for the well-being of their inhabitants. Most poverty in the world is rural, and reaching the international development targets means giving high priority to rural development, then economic development is achieved.
Rural development is a strategy designed to improve the economic and social life of a specific group of people, the rural poor. It involves extending the benefits of development to the poorest among those who seek a livelihood in the rural areas. The group includes small-scale farmers, tenants and the landless. Therefore, developing these areas improves the living standards of the entire nation which is basically economic development. Development of infrastructure in these parts develops the country at large.
Of course, the governments cannot focus on rural development but to strive at this and be economical, it can focus on the provision of affordable, durable and cyclone resistant Houses to families in rural areas. They are cheap and durable such that at least three quarters of the economy can afford them. Studies show that there is a shortage of expertise in the areas of community facilitation both within government and non-government organizations of most developing countries and additionally there are quite a number of tools being used. When experts are hired to participate in the development of rural areas, economic development is achieved.
It is undeniable how much economic development will come to a country that takes up the challenge to explore long term innovative financial mechanism for supporting the development and implementation of rural communities. Technical change is one of the key factors to economic growth in rural areas. Despite diversification, agriculture remains an essential source of income in rural areas, directly and indirectly. If technology is introduced to the rural areas and the users undergo programs that educate them on the use of this new technology, countries will definitely undergo economic growth.
Most new technologies can be characterized as being very specific (for particular environments, conditions, or markets), or information intensive (requiring that farmers learn new management techniques). The private sector can play a part, but public support to research and information delivery will be essential. Conclusion In summary, to develop a nation economically, the rural areas have to be considered as priority in terms of development. By working on the constraints of such development and taking advantage of the potentials, economic development can be achieved.