III. Consequences of Multiple Employment
The great extent of multiple employment in rural areas has
(a) The usual concept of a farm is not valid in many cases
Indeed, the great diversity of agriculture in the Thirl
World is generally acknowledged. Mostly, however, agriculture
is connected with the idea of a small family farm, in which
the peasants family invests its labour and lives from the
This does not apply in many cases. Neither are all workers
available for agriculture — some of them work elsewhere
— nor is the families standard of living dependent upon
the farm's return, because additional earnings are often available.
Instead of farms or holdings, one should speak of 'types
of rural households' which result from various forms of families
and various economic activities. Thereby, the sources of income
can vary from time to time and from region to region. Household
activities do not have to take place in the same locality.
The usual relation between farm size and the farm families
life situation — differentiated only by the varying
quality of cultivation and of the natural and economic conditions
for production — does not
According to the amount of non-agricultural income, interest
in agriculture as well as internal distribution of income
among family members, small farm households may have a high
standard of living or live under poor circumstances.
The capacity of making investments is determined in part
only by the agricultural income, but often much more by the
non-agricultural income of family members. Thus the households
dependence upon agriculture, its prices, costs and yields
(b) The Farmers Objectives vary greatly
When the farm family is fully employed on the farm, thinking
and activities are centeres on the farm. In case of multiple
employment, this can be very different. The off-farm employment
influences the interests in agriculture and limits the possibilities.
A high income earned in the non-agricultural sector may reduce
considerably the interest in cultivation, or may lead to expansion
or modernization of the farmln contrast, if the small farm
is considered as a hobby, the readiness to invest may disappear
Objectives other than achieving a secure and satisfactory
income from agriculture may be determining. Thus, agriculture
involving a minimal amount of work can be of interest. Other
households try to organize farming in such a way that the
labour requirements are concentrated on a few days for planting
and harvesting. On these days, the relatives in town are mobilized.
In still other cases, yields are uninteresting, and land
speculation is the owners main pursuit. Rest from the noise
and stress in the urban area may incite preference for a rural
residence, or for sentimental reasons one would like to eat
products from the inherited land. In the first generation
of those who change their occupation, security also plays
a role. As long as landed property is retained, one can go
back to rural way of life should one loose the non-agricultural
The possibilities of combining the household income from
several sources depend upon the number of children, especially
sons, of working age. Since multiple employment among marginal
holds is a means of improving their life situation, it becomes
interesting from an economic standpoint to have many children.
As long as family ties remain intact — and this often
is still the case in the first generation employed off-farm
— children send part of their income to their parents
and thus create a way to improve their economic well-being
possible from the agricultural income.
(c) Rural Development Approaches must be adjusted
The more common multiple employment is the closer rural development
institutions have to examine whether their range of activities
still corresponds to the wishes and needs.
The extension service must adjust itself to the clients'
different objectives as well as to the fact that peasants
are available at other times, and that knowledge and influence
are also brought to the households by the sons employed in
urban areas. Since those family members bear part of the financial
burden when investments are made, they can hardly be excluded
Credit requirements, securities and repayment possibilities
should be assessed different when multiple employment is taken
Farmers reactions to the measures of agrarian policy is not
only determined by the farm requirements, but by whole situation
in which the household finds itself. Relatives from towns
may be involved in decision making.
(d) Increasing Differentiation in Agriculture
New possibilities and new objectives among the households
with multiple employment with regard to agriculture allow
important changes to be expected for the future.
In the first place, the future of agriculture is uncertain
when multiple employment is taken up at a large scale. On
the one hand, people concerned may loose interest in traditional
agriculture. On the other hand, in case of early retirement
from army or police force, there may be an incentive for a
way of life in which the pension is supplemented by self-sufficiency
in foodstuffs and a cheap and pleasant existence in the rural
Rapid development outside agriculture will lead to increasing
multiple employment. In some places, this may lead to improvements
in agriculture by enlargement of the farm or by increase of
productivity level through mechanization.
Other cases may develop to rural homes teads with orchard
and vegetable garden and perhaps some small animals.
This would mark the beginning of a division between increasingly
commercial agriculture on the one hand, and small rural living
plots, on the other hand.
(e) The concept of 'agriculture' is no longer valid
The common idea of agriculture — from the macro-economic
point of view — as a sector which separated from other
sectors, has to play certain roles in economic development,
is no longer correct.
Indeed, a certain interdependence between sectors is generally
acknowledged, but the sectors are still considered as separate
units that are inter-related.
In contrast, in regions where multiple employment is considerable,
the sectors merge so much that the old concepts can hardly
be applied usefully. The population no longer depends on one
sector. It sometimes changes the focus of its involvement
from year to year, as the requirements and possibilities change.
Financially, the population basis itself on several sectors
and also utilizes the available funds in one sector or the
other. The considerable intertwining calls for a reconsideration
of all the strategies and theories based on the nation of