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III. Income-generating rural economic activities

III. Income-generating rural economic activities

3.1 What do we understand by income-generating activities in the countryside?

Aim of the question: The aim of the question is to encourage the participants to think about all the income-creating rural activities, including the one they are involved in or intend to take up. Of course, it may not be possible to do all these activities everywhere and in every context. For instance, a mainly Islamic community will not consider taking up pig-raising, and vegetable crops cannot be grown in areas that are short of water. We will come back to this when we deal with the technical, economic and financial feasibility of current or planned operations.

Trainers will first let participants reply freely to this question. Having identified the activities in which the audience is already involved, the trainers will classify and sum up the replies more or less as follows:

3.1.1 Agricultural production

Crop production (cereals, cash crops, vegetables), large and small animal-raising (poultry, rabbits or pigs), bee-keeping, fish culture, etc.

3.1.2 Processing

Milling (handmills), hulling, food preservation (cold storage and drying, juice, jam and bread making), processing equipment, etc.

3.1.3 Para-agricultural and non-agricultural activities

The manufacture of farm implements, rural construction, wood and metal workshops, masonry, welding, motor repairs, etc.

3.1.4 Handicrafts

Weaving, dyeing, basket-making, embroidery, shoe-making, and sewing.

3.1.5 Commercial activities

The selling of basic commodities such as salt, sugar, milk, matches and soap, the buying and selling of agricultural commodities and handicrafts, the selling of various inputs, the buying and selling of agricultural and pare-agricultural implements and equipment, grain shops and banks, village pharmacies and import-export activities.

This list is for guidance only. Trainers and participants may, of course, change, or even add, to it.


Rural dwellers can boost income and living standards through a number of rural activities: crop and livestock production, processing, para- non-agricultural, artisanal and commercial activities.

All these activities must fulfil certain conditions: in addition to being technically feasible, they must also be economically and financially profitable.

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