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Most developing countries

In most developing countries, agricultural activities remain the major source of livelihood for most households in rural areas. The aim of this paper is to explore agricultural activities in Country A. The role of women in farming activities will also be evaluated. Finally, the paper will compare and contrast Country A with experiences in countries B and C. During 1980s, Country A initiated several agricultural policies that seriously undermined farming activities in rural areas. Agricultural subsidies on inputs such as technical services, loans, fertilizers and seeds were considerably reduced and laws restricting imports were eliminated.

Domestic products were thus compelled to compete against imported merchandizes when the government relaxed regulations on imports. The fundamental reason behind liberalization of agricultural sector in Country A was to subject the sector to market forces to prop up efficiency and innovation in production activities. It was expected that these new policies would: reduce the number of people engaged in farming; merge small plots into bigger and more resourceful farming units; and reduce local production of maize.

Nevertheless, the impacts of these new measures have been minimal and the facts on ground in Country A indicate that cultivation of maize in small pieces of land is a common feature in rural areas. Farming activities in these small pieces of land is now a task left for women (week 7). This is true because the rural-urban migration in Country A has seen many men shifting to urban centers in search of employment opportunities in other sector. Since majority of household heads are not available, farming activities in rural areas rest entirely with women.

Thus women play significant role in economic activities in rural areas. Besides producing maize for domestic use, women also sell some of the produce at the market to acquire money for other household needs such as cooking oil and soap. Moreover, maize cobs and stalks are used as cooking fuel by poor families in rural areas. The significance of corn in rural areas is emphasized by the fact that women who lack it are compelled to rely on remittance from their husbands working in town.

Although women are the major producers of maize in most parts of Country A, government’s policies do not recognize their noble role (Week 7). In terms of land ownership structure, Country A does better than Country C. Whereas citizens in Country A can own land; the situation in Country C is quite different. In the last two centuries for instance, land tenure has been under the control of the ruling monarchy which awarded land to family members, advisors and military leaders.

Consequently, the feudal system came into existence where a small number of elite individuals possessed most of country C’s fertile land (week 7). A common feature among the two countries is the implementation of moribund policies to address economic problems. Country A introduced agricultural policies that aimed at consolidating smaller plots into economically viable units but in the end, achieved little success. On the other hand, the monarchy in Country C launched land reform policies in 1960s that placed a cap on the maximum size of land an individual could own.

However, the new policies were not implemented and minimal land was redistributed to poor farmers. Although the monarchy initiated a new program in 1990s to help poor farmers buy land from rich landlords, the initiative collapsed due to widespread corruption (week 7). The significance of inequity in land distribution in Country C was highlighted by the civil war that erupted between Maoist rebels and the monarchy. After a decade of conflict, the monarchy signed a peace accord with rebels that culminated in parliamentary elections in 2008 in which Maoist won.

Although the Maoist promised to remedy the land ownership situation in Country C, several challenges remain. For example, poor farmers who will be granted land might lack funds to buy agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizers. Thus the success of land redistribution program and the subsequent farming activities depends on government’s commitment and availability of funds to lend new land owners (Week 7). Political stability remains one of the major impediments to economic activities. Country A seems to enjoy such stability while Country B does not.

In Country A, the dismal performance in agricultural sector is attributed to rural-urban migration of male in search of employment. In contrast, political instability and ethnic rivalry in has been the major cause of deteriorating economic situation in Country B. Moreover, the Junta government is known to suppress political dissidents. Although the minority groups have requested a dialogue between junta, political and ethnic groups in Country B, the probability of such a discourse happening is negligible and no one knows what will occur in 2010 (Week 7). . Reference Week 7. Lecture notes.

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