Agriculture, Poverty and Freedom in Developing Countries by Eric Clayton

By Eric Clayton

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What they sometimes mean is reduced inequality of incomes, in which case they can find themselves in agreement with non-socialists. This is because reducing income inequality can be consistent with reducing The Anatomy of Farm Incomes 43 poverty. " Regarding the distribution of wealth, particularly concerning land in LDCs, non-socialists will consider this a desirable social objective in certain specific cases. The prevalence of poverty makes it especially imperative that LDC resources are used with reasonable efficiency.

Those of the Left seem unable to face the possibility that there might be no solution, in many countries, to the agricultural development problem - in the sense of a significant reduction of poverty in a relatively short period. But rather than face the reality of a 'hostile' environment, they put forward sterile political programmes as a substitute for practical strategies for raising agricultural productivity to benefit the rural sector including as many as possible of its poorest members. Some examples of the debate Some of the claims made above will be discussed in detail in the next section; but in case they are thought to be exaggerated, a few quotations follow by way of illustration.

8 After 1974 the rice price more than doubled and by 1975/76 all the settlers had net incomes exceeding Kshs 3000 a year! What is clear from the table is that, despite equal land holdings and equal access, farm family incomes were unequally distributed. The same situation is found on all the other irrigation schemes in Kenya, though intervening price fluctuations and technical failures make it more difficult to interpret the results. " This gives credence to the point that income equality is unachievable in smallholder agriculture.

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