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VI. Development of non-farm rural activities

Higher agricultural production and more equitable distribution of income provide a mass market and effective demand for industrial goods and services. Viable rural development in its turn requires industrialization. Many industries can be located in rural areas. Integrated rural development requires the rapid growth of non-farm economic activities and opportunities for employment, especially through rural industries, and expanded infrastructures for power supply, transport and communication, housing, water supply, marketing and storage facilities, with due regard to technology and scale so as to benefit the rural poor. These measures would reduce rural exodus and also slow the growth of urban slums.

In strategies to develop non-agricultural activities in rural areas, governments should consider action to:


(i) Adjust systems off seal incentives, especially for small and medium industry, and plan the location of public utilities to promote a wide distribution of industrial activities in rural areas.

(ii) Allocate to rural areas a greater share of public utility and other infrastructure, particularly health services and education, water, power, roads, transport and communication.

(iii) Promote among rural people industrial entrepreneurship, including cottage industries, through cooperatives and other appropriate institutions and organizations.

(iv) Establish and strengthen facilities, service centres and institutions at local levels to provide inputs, credit, vocational education and training, information and marketing services.


(i) Organize rural works programmes, well integrated with rural development plans, especially in the slack agricultural seasons, through local government institutions and people's participation.

(ii) Use food aid, among other things, for community rural works programmes which will benefit landless workers and small farmers, taking care not to depress local food production.

(iii) Develop agro-industry by promoting local production of inputs and local processing of raw materials of the agricultural sector, thus strengthening agro-industrial linkages benefiting rural people.

(iv) Promote forestry activities involving local people and support village forestry for ecological protection and to meet local needs for fuel, wood products and feeds.

(v) Develop and improve management of fisheries and aquaculture, with emphasis on the needs of small producers, including exploitation of new resources, development of fish products, reduction of waste and protection against pollution.

VII. Education, training and extension

Education, including preschool and primary education, and training and extension services are fundamental needs for human development in rural areas and also for expansion and modernization of rural economies. Basic literacy and numeracy and free education for all children, including those in rural areas, deserve the highest priority. No less essential is the creation and expansion of training and extension networks for both men and women to develop and improve skills and to increase productivity and income-generating capabilities. There is also need for establishment of effective linkages between extension and problem-solving research. In view of the great urgency of these needs and the magnitude of the task in relation to the resources of developing countries, low-cost techniques of education and training for short periods merit close consideration.

In formulating policies and programmes, governments should consider action to:


(i) Give high priority to the achievement and maintenance of universal primary education and universal literacy functionally related to other aspects of development, and by the year 2000 either achieve it or attain and maintain a level that is close to it. Complement educational programmes with health and nutrition programmes, especially for school-age children, to facilitate achievement of this goal

(ii) While retaining the emphasis on literacy and without prejudice to equality of opportunity to be provided by education, relate the curricula and syllabi of primary and secondary schools to daily life and work, including seasonality of demand for labour and the characteristics of agricultural production processes in rural areas. For this purpose, as well as to reorganize curricula and syllabi to adjust them to the special conditions of rural areas, farmland and other resources should be allocated to rural schools.

(iii) Strengthen programmes of non-formal education, giving special emphasis to courses in functional literacy, health, home economics, nutrition, family planning, agrarian law, legal services, cooperatives and farm management, with major focus on upgrading skills and practices of existing farmers.

(iv) Strengthen non-formal education for the promotion of skills required for, inter alia, rural industries, construction and equipment maintenance.

(v) Promote grass-roots education and training in the use of local materials to promote employment and enhance community self-reliance.

(vi) Encourage coordination of in-school and out-of-school education, and promote the integration of the two systems.


(i) Institute and strengthen continuing education programmes for men and women on equal terms, including retraining and reorientation for public officials, policy-makers and administrators, technicians and educators, especially to improve their understanding of the conditions and problems of rural areas and their ability to respond to the needs of the rural poor.

(ii) Expand education and extension training in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, especially at the middle level, with emphasis on problem-solving and adaptation to local conditions, drawing upon practical experience.

(iii) Increase interaction and communication between development planners, rural educators, extension workers, and the members of broad-based people's organizations with respect to the objectives, design and implementation of rural development programmes.

(iv) Recruit male and female extension and research workers and rural educators from rural communities and encourage them to return to work within their own communities.

(v) Improve communication and interchange between research institutions, extension agencies and farmers, and devise ways for participation by representatives of peasant groups in setting research, extension and training priorities and in formulating grass-roots education and training programmes that are more responsive to their needs.

(vi) Make effective use of regional and national centres to serve as focal points for the dissemination of appropriate basic rural technological skills and crafts.

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