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The rural non-farm economy livelihoods and their diversification: issues and options (NRI report no. 2753)

The rural non-farm economy livelihoods and their diversification: issues and options (NRI report no. 2753)

Davis, Junior R. (2003) The rural non-farm economy livelihoods and their diversification: issues and options (NRI report no. 2753). Project Report. Natural Resources Institute, Chatham, UK.

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Abstract

This report summarises the findings from more than 55 studies of rural economies and the rural non-farm economy (RNFE), most of them financed by DFID. It relates these to the existing understanding of the RNFE in the literature and tries to draw out policy implications.

In brief it reports that:

· The RNFE is an important part of the rural economy in almost every case, providing between 40 and 60% of incomes and jobs in rural areas;

· Much of RNF activity arises in trading and in the processing of agricultural and other primary products. Rural manufacturing tends to comprise only a small part of the RNFE;

· Much of the RNFE provides goods and services for the local, rural economy. Little of it is tradable and earns incomes outside of the immediate rural context. In large part, then, its growth depends on that of other rural activities, above all, agriculture;

· The RNFE may be seen as divided into much activity that is small-scale, uses little capital, and which is low productivity and offers low returns, often little better than farm labouring; and activities that operate at larger scale, with more capital investment, and generating better returns to labour than can be had in most kinds of farming;

· Since the former category is accessible to the rural poor, the RNFE is essential in mitigating poverty and preventing destitution, but it is less clear that it can eradicate poverty. Moreover, since it is the better-off who can generally access the well-rewarded RNF activities, the RNFE may exacerbate inequalities. But much depends on the ability of RNF enterprises to create jobs and so distribute the benefits across rural societies. At the same time, if some rural non-farm activities provide support to growth sectors (e.g. in the case of agriculture, input supply, equipment manufacturing and distribution, transport, repairs, etc) then it may indirectly play an important role in poverty alleviation by enabling poverty reduction elsewhere (in this case in agriculture).

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: rural, non-farm, economy, livelihood, diversification, employment, income
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Food & Markets Department
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2016 14:26
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/11674

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