6.2.3 Increasing Regional Differentiation

Traditionally, agriculture has been dependent upon the quality of the soil and the climate, upon infrastructure, markets and similar factors which had consequences for land management and land tenure. Uusually, the poorer the conditions of production were, the more widespread was small-scale agriculture, while, in the fertile plains, large-scale ownership was prevalent.

This traditional pattern has changed in both directions. On the one hand, some of the prevailing conditions proved to be more suitable for modern technologies than others. Irrigated plains, especially, have been the centre of the 'Green Revolution.' This trend means that traditionally richer areas became even richer and experience the consequences of the 'Green Revolution' on land management and land tenure: intensification, tractorization, trend to larger cultivation units.

On the other hand, economic and technological progress makes it sometimes possible to change the traditional approval or disapproval of a location, for example, the introduction of irrigation in an arid area, industrialization, the development of tourism, the opening up of new areas by contructing roads. Usually, this had consequences for land use and land tenure within a short time because some people develop a new interest in land due only to the changed conditions.

Such changes are partly the consequence of public policy and it should be assured that the impact of development policy on land is assessed and taken into account. Certain projects (relocation of the capital into a poorer region, construction of an airport at a new site, building a new road, etc.) will invariably cause an increase in land prices, the purchase of agricultural land by non-agriculturists, etc. Even for the remaining farmers, they will cause changes in the type of cultivation, since the new sitution will offer different market opportunities and call for different requirements. Thus, poor areas may suddenly prosper, landowners become rich, underemployed labourers experience a great demand for their work, etc. Often, in the end, the agriculturists are the losers while non-agriculturalists make the profit.