ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Regional Variations in Rural Non-Agricultural Employment-An Exploratory Analysis

Regional Variations in Rural Non-Agricultural Employment An Exploratory Analysis IN the third world, the rural economy has until recently been equated with the agricultural economy. In addition to crop production, fishing, forestry, etc, members of rural households may engage in a certain amount of agro-processing, transporting and marketing of agricultural produce as secondary activities. This view of the rural population's exclusive dependence on agriculture has begun to change in the past few years. There is a growing recognition that non-agricultural activities in rural areas play a crucial role in providing simple consumer goods and services to the rural households. Such activities also provide a humble but critical income to the landless labour [Kilby and Liedholm, 1986], Rural households engage in a variety of activities, both agricultural and non-agricultural. Few households in any category derive their income exclusively from agriculture. However, the non-agricultural activities they engage in are likely to be quite different at the two ends of the income distribution spectrum. For the low income rural households, wages from working on construction work, brick kiln, etc, and personal services are the predominant source. There is evidence from many countries that the extent of secondary employment in non-farm work also is extensive and important for small and landless farm families [World Bank, 1978]. For the high income rural households manufacturing or other-business activities and salaried income tend to predominate. These latter activities have higher entry barriers and yield higher returns than agriculture or other non- agricultural activities [Kilby and Liedholm, 1986J. Some non-farm activities are clearly rooted in tradition and continue even today such as blacksmiths, carpenters, potters, weavers, etc, in the rural communities of the third world.

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