The present Rural Development Policy and Strategies underscores one basic objective with regard to economic development, i.e. to build a market economy in which: i) a broad spectrum of the Ethiopian people are beneficiaries; ii) dependence on food aid is eliminated; and, iii) rapid economic growth is assured. Given the dominance of agriculture in the Ethiopian economy, i.e. agriculture contributes to about 80% of employment, the rural development effort is presently associated with agricultural development.Part Two focuses on “Rural and Agricultural Development Policies and Stragtegies". It is the development of the agricultural sector that will provide the basis for rural development. Chapter 1 of this Part outlines the “Basic Directions of Agricultural Development” as follows: 1) Not capital-intensive but labour-intensive productions methods can bring about a sustained growth; 2) Proper utilization of agricultural land and its access is one of the most important development issues in Ethiopia. A fundamental aspect of the proper use of land is to guarantee the availability of land to people who seek to make a living out of farming. Furthermore, a sustainable use shall be taken into consideration and special care shall be taken not to deplete the natural resource base; 3) Education of labour force because the the present agricultural labour force is largely illiterate and uses traditional technology handed down to it from past generations; 4) Taking different agro-ecological zone into account. Ethiopia is characterized by the existence of many agro-ecological zones, which differ in terms of rainfall, soil types, altitude and the like. It is not difficult to see that the agricultural activities carried out in the different agro-ecological zones are greatly varied; 5) An integrated development path. Every development effort requires coordinated and integrated management of different tasks. Likewise, support to agricultural development in Ethiopia requires the coordinated management of very many activities.Chapter 2 lays down provisions relating to the “Strengthening of the Agricultural Labour Force” dealing with the following aspects: Ensuring Industriousness and Work Preparedness (1); Improving Farming Skills (2); Ensuring the Health of Farmers .(3); Dissemination of Appropriate Technology (4).Chapter 3 deals with “Proper Use” of Land announcing that the basic objective of the agricultural development policy is to make the best use of human resources by promoting labour intensive technology and enhancing the productive capacity of labour. Utilizing land in a manner that is sustainable and at the same time accelerates agricultural development. This Chapter makes provisions for: 1). Land Ownership which is anchored in the Constitution reflecting the special role of land playing in the economic and social life of Ethiopian society. Considerable debate has arisen on whether land ownership should be private or government owned; 2) Land Use Policy; 3) Water Resources Utilization, a key resource of agriculture. Moreover, not only is it important that water be available but also that it is available in the right quantities and at the right time. If water is made available all year round, it is possible to more productively engage the agricultural labour force and, as such, should be considered an important policy target.Chapter 4 concerns “Preparing Area Compatible Development Packages” underlining that efforts towards agricultural development need to be consistent with the particular conditions prevailing in each region of the country. Diversity in agro-ecological zones as well as other reasons discussed elsewhere requires that this should be a basic consideration of the present strategy. The Chapter deals with the following aspects: 1) Combining Efforts towards Diversification and Specialization; 2) Development Efforts in Drought-Prone Regions; 4) Development in Pastoral Areas: Approaches and Programmes; 4) Development in Areas having Large, Unutilized Agriculturally Suitable Land.Chapter 5 deals with “Working towards Market-Led Agricultural Development”. This Chapter makes provisions for the following issues: 1) Agricultural Development not Driven by Market Forces cannot be Rapid and Sustainable; 2). Tuning Agricultural Sector to Produce Goods Having Demand in the Market; 3) Building an Agricultural Marketing System.Chapter 6 concerns “Improving on Rural Finance”. It is underlined that shortage of finance is particularly acute among the millions of farmers. They need to buy improved agricultural inputs and implements to increase their income and break the perpetuity of the poverty cycle they are entangled with. But they cannot do this because they lack finance. The credible solution for this seems to improve vastly farmers' access to rural financial services, notably credit. In particular, this Chapter deals with the following aspects: 1) Banks and the Rural Financial System; 2) Rural Banks; 3) Cooperatives.Chapter 7 on “Towards Promoting Private Sector Participation in Agricultural Development” emphasizes that private investors are already making a significant contribution to agricultural development. But, this cannot mask in anyway the immense potential the private capital has yet to realize in the development of agriculture in Ethiopia. The Chapter makes provisions for: 1) Attracting Foreign Investors to the Agricultural Sector; 2) Agricultural Training and the Participation of Private Investors; 3) Linkage between Private Investors and Smallholders.Chapter 8 lays down provisions relating to “Expansion of Rural Infrastructure”. In particular, the availability of social and economic infrastructures is essential both for agricultural and rural development. It is not possible to attain rapid and sustainable agricultural or overall rural development where there is a lack of services in the fields of: education, training, health, rural road and transport. The Chapter deals with the following issues: 1) Expansion of Educational and Health Services; 2) Expansion of Rural Road and Transport Services; 3) Improvement of Drinking Water Supply; 4) Expansion of other Rural Infrastructural Services.Chapter 9 on “Strengthening Non-Agricultural Rural Development Activities” suggests that education, health, trade, marketing, finance, etc., are all technically outside of agriculture, but all are critically important to agricultural development. Expanding and strengthening these services in the rural economy means developing non-agricultural sectors and increasing the member of people employed there in, which in itself is another factor for assisting development. Agricultural development cannot occur without a visible change in these services. Farmers employ themselves in agricultural or other activities to improve their livelihoods. They want to increase their income to improve the quality of life. The Chapter treats the following points: 1) The Need for Non-Agricultural Rural Development; 2) Full Utilization of Development Opportunities Created by Rural Development; 3) Strengthening Rural-Urban Linkages.Part Three lays down provisions relating to “Managing the Rural Development”. Chapter 1 on Democratic Participation and Rural Development makes provisions for: 1) The Necessity and Indispensability of Popular Participation in Development: Public participation is highly desirable and beneficial to development. It is the right of the people to discuss development issues and decide on all matters that concern them. Participation is not sought for its own sake. Rather it is because rural development is virtually inconceivable without; 2) Proper Use of Public Participation Forums. Chapter 2 is entitled “Strengthening and Properly Using Key Rural Development Institutions” and establishes that rural development leaders should work hard to assist in the creation of institutions and equipping them with efficient administrative and organizational systems and structures. Chapter 3 emphasizes the “Distinguishing Roles and Capacitating Role-Playing of Government Agencies”. Chapter 4 outlines the “Roles of Government Agencies in Pastoral Regions”. As regards rural development, similarities dwarf differences between sedentary and pastoral regions. However, since herders live a transhumant life and ethnic structures and relations exert a great deal of influence on their daily lives, it is inevitable that some changes need to be made to the system of management in the pastoral areas. The text consists of 3 Parts as follows: The Rural development policy and strategies in the context of Ethiopia’s overall development (I); Rural and agricultural development policies and strategies for Ethiopia (II); Managing the rural development (III).
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