3a) Components of integrated rural development

Integrated rural development is, at the same time, a goal and a methodological approach. The goal is to include the neglected masses of rural poor in the process of increasing the well-being of mankind. The approach for reaching this goal is the application of a bundle of well-balanced measures of economic and socio-political nature. In this process, by applying a system research method, the interdependent relation of all economic, social, political, and technical factors has to be taken into account. Here, we have to admit that a quantitative analysis would create many difficuiculties.

The content of this bundle of measures will vary in different cases. Therefore, any approach to rural development has to start with the assessment of the current situation and the identification of existing bottlenecks. The following, somewhat abstract, checklist gives an idea of the internal and external factors to be considered:

  1. Natural resources, agricultural and non-agricultural;
  2. Human resources(quality and quantity);
  3. Pattern of social organization(values, social stratification mobility, power structure land tenure system);
  4. Economic structure(agricultural production structure, industry, market relations, etc,);
  5. Technology in agriculture and in the non-agricultural sector;
  6. Infrastructure(physical infrastructure, transport and communication, social infrastructure, spatial order);
  7. Institutions and organizations (administration, people's organization, etc.);
  8. Services (marketing, credit extension, social security);
  9. Education and training (formal and informal).

The application of measures concerning the sectors listed above-perhaps with some additional ones-to a specific area, will allow the identification of the elements promoting and restricting development possibilities, as well as their interrelationship.