3. Implications for Development Policy
The socio economic differentiation which has been explained
shows that agriculture, today, is not the same as 30 years
ago. Land cultivation, especially, cannot always be perceived
as `agriculture' understood in terms of farms employing the
labour of the cultivating family and providing these people's
It is perhaps necessary to explain the different types of
land cultivating households by means of a different paradigm.
Instead of farms, it might be better to speak of households
that utilize all the resources available to them (land, labour
and perhaps some capital) to secure survival and raise their
standard of living.
Depending an the resource endowment, this can take place
in various ways: if there is sufficient land, the household
might concentrate an farming. Agriculture is then the sole
activity. But if there is a. shortage of land, people have
to make other arrangements to earn their living. They either
try to find additional non farm jobs and thus increase their
total income, they engage in household production and avoid
expenditure in order to survive, or only an old couple instead
of a family lives an the land.
Naturally, among the different households, the functions
of land cultivation vary. For the household with sufficient
land, the central function is to create reasonable means of
existence for the members and produce food and raw materials
for self sufficiency and the maket.
For households which do not have enough land, these functions
play a smaller role while others become important. Partial
self sufficiency is still a goal, but old age security, financing
the costs of training or migration, security in the case of
unemployment become more important. In part, these are alternative
functions because there are no other ways of fulfilling these
The goals which the people concerned have regarding cultivation
also change with the functions.
Households with sufficient land are interested in increasing
production and productivity as means of increasing their income.
They therefore use the possibilities offered by modern technology
and by the market. Side goals are to facilitate work and offer
security for old age.
Households without sufficient land are much less interested
in increasing yields. They have made the experience that,
if they only have a small acreage, an increase in yield does
not bring much in the end. Instead of the highest yield, one
is more interested in the least labour input and the smallest
possible investment in agricultural production. This makes
it possible to use the existing labour force outside agriculture
and is less risky. If one is successful in securing permanent
nonagricultural jobs, then, the financial result is usually
much better than all efforts in agriculture. Traditional farming
brings self sufficiency, and keeping the land in the family
is an important security for the household.
One has a rural house and a place where to live in old age,
in familiar surroundings. Sometimes, the land is the family's
The changing functions and goals of land cultivating families
have consequences for suitable measures of development policy.
Considering the strong differentiation in agriculture, a uniform
policy for all household types is impossible. The usual instruments
of agricultural policy, especially, are helpful only for a
certain number of all of the households, and that for the
For households having sufficient land, i.e., large landowners,
progressive farmers, and economic holdings, agricultural policy
is a suitable policy instrument. Price policy, structural
policy and innovation policy are of help to these farms and
to their cultivators. Especially the supporting institutions
(cooperatives, extension, credit facilities, etc.) are of
great importance and effect for these groups and, at the same
time, for an increase in food production and food security.
Whatever changes in agrarian structure are still lacking in
the case of landlords have to be provided for by measures
of agrarian reform.
For households not having sufficient land, measures of agricultural
policy are of lesser interest. Of course, measures of structural
policy and agrarian reforms may provide a possibility to increase
the farm area and thus cause an `upward' development of the
farm. Most of the instruments of agricultural policy, however,
remain without effect for these households and, therefore,
hardly serve their interests. This includes the supporting
institutions for agriculture. A marginal farmer has nothing
to sell via, the cooperative because he needs all his produce
for home consumption. Households with multiple employment
are not those which consult regularly the extension worker,
and no bank or cooperative will give credit to the holdings
of the aged. One cannot help the people concerned with agricultural
policy, and the effects of such measures an production are
equally minimal. Of course, within the margin between both
types, there are possibilities of achieving positive effects,
but these are exceptions to the rule.
Any promotion of the households not having sufficient land
has to take into consideration that the longterm focus of
interest of these people is usually outside agriculture and
that the small size of their acreage necessarily limits the
quantitative effect of all agricultural measures. The instruments
of regional development policy (which, to some extent, include
measures of agricultural policy) offer better prospects for
these groups. Promotion of employment, diversification of
economy in rural areas, smoothing the transition to non agricultural
jobs by appropriate professional training are of help to these
people. In some areas, where the relation between men and
resources has become too narrow, a certain degree of outmigration
is necessary to preserve the ecosystem from damages due to
overuse. Usually, people realize this, and some of them leave
the region. Finally, in our discussion of development and
our focus an `helping people to help themselves', we must
not forget that there are hundreds of thousands of people
who are not able to help themselves because of illness, disabilities,
old age, etc. Therefore, measures of social and welfare policy
have to be an important component in the mix of policy instruments.