3. Basic Considerations in Developing a Strategy for Rural
Before an attempt is made to outline a strategy for the development
of the rural sector, it is useful to summarize the more important
considerations which determine the type of strategy suitable
- Climate and soil conditions make the country especially
suitable for tree crops which, in order to be profitable,
require high investments and top level management.
- Because of the existing conditions of climate and soil
and because of the hilly topography, the cultivation of
non-tree crops requires a high level of intensity and a
high level of management, including such measures as contour
farming, terracing, alternation of tree crops and arable
- The development of commercial agriculture is essential
to the development of agriculture related industries which
will probably be required of the employment creation potential
in the modern sector is to be increased significantly.
- There are limitations as to the extent to which traditional
agriculture can be developed without changing the shifting
cultivation into a modern permanent agriculture. The technical
know-how concerning this process is scarce. Social and cultural
constraints as well as limited resources have a disadvantageous
influence on this process.
- With the given development of the overall economy and
the available stock and supply of manpower, the traditional
farming sector is bound to shrink.
- In the long run, increases in the income levels outside
traditional agriculculture will cause more and more migration
away from traditional agriculture.
- While all the points mentioned so far speak for a concentration
of efforts on modern agriculture, equity and justice considerations
and the Liberian policy of total involvement require a strategy
promoting the traditional sector now, and not only in the
long tun development. Such measures should include a welfare
component in a short run perspective, which, however, might
turn into a productive investment in the long run.
- The above considerations imply a two way strategy:
- one concentrating immediately on the productive sector
in agriculture with the aim to increase production where
the prospects are good, and thus increase income, private
as well as public. This, at the same time, will provide
funds for the second way:
- the development of the traditional agricultural sector.
- The traditional sector in agriculture should be developed
in such a way that the institutional structure to be established
serves its purpose when the traditional farming sector will
have •been developed into a modern smallholder agriculture.
The following chapter gives an outline of such a strategy.