DR ANMITA SPp'^n;
DEPT. OF AN':i,; .,fGy
UNIVEfSITY OF FLDFOuA
GAINESVILLE, FL 32611
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA CONFERENCE
MARKET TOWNS AND RURAL GROWTH:
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL LINKAGES
YAMOUSSOUKRO, COTE D'IVOIRE
JANUARY 8-13, 1989
Sponsored by the Regional Housing and Urban
Development Office, U.S. Agency for International
Development and the Government of C8te d'lvoire
The Conference on "Market Towns and Rural Growth: Economic and Social
Linkages" was organized with the assistance of the Research Triangle Institute
as part of the West African Municipal Management Training Program, AID
contract number 681-1008-C-00-80-46-00.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CONFERENCE PROGRAM..................................................... 1
Delivered by Mr. Warren Wienstein, Associate Assistant, Administrator
Africa Bureau, USAID, Washington, D.C.................................. 7
Delivered by Mr. Leon Konan Koffi, Minister of Interior, Republic de
COte d'Ivoire .......................................................... 15
PROMOTING RURAL GROWTH: PEOPLE, PLACES AND PRIORITIES
by David D. Gow, Development Alternatives, Washington, D.C............ 23
THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MARKET TOWNS AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN
THE NEW AGRICULTURAL POLICY IN SENEGAL
by Ismael Ouedraogo, ISRA/MSU/USAID, Agricultural Research Project..... 55
MARKET TOWNS AND RURAL GROWTH: BUILDING URBAN-RURAL LINKAGES
by Dennis A. Rondinelli, Research Triangle Institute, Research
Triangle Park, North Carolina........................................ 71
STRENGTHENING OF LOCAL MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH:
THE COTE D'IVOIRE CASE
by Philippe Harding, Director of Local Government, Ministry of
Interior, COte d'Ivoire......................................... 87
GENDER ISSUES IN RURAL-URBAN MARKETING NETWORKS
by Anita Spring, Ph.D., Head, Women and Agriculture Program, Food and
Agriculture Organization, Rome....................................... 97
THE IMPACT OF INVESTMENTS IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND MARKET SERVICES ON
by Roger Poulin, Development Alternatives, Inc., Washington, D.C.......115
INFORMAL ACTIVITIES IN AFRICAN URBAN NETWORKS (ROLE OF MICRO-ENTERPRISES
IN A MARKET TOWN ECONOMY)
by Yves Marguerat, Orstom, Lome, Togo.................................133
RURAL REGIONAL ANALYSIS FOR INTERVENTION PLANNING: THE RURAL-URBAN
EXCHANGE RESEARCH FRAMEWORK
by Avrom Bendavid-Val, SARSA Program, U.S.A...........................143
CONCLUSIONS OF WORKING GROUPS
FRENCH SPEAKING GROUP NO. 1.........................................171
FRENCH SPEAKING GROUP NO. 2.......................................173
ENGLISH SPEAKING GROUP NO. 1........................................177
FRENCH SPEAKING GROUP NO. 3.......................................181
ENGLISH SPEAKING GROUP NO. 2......................................184
FRENCH SPEAKING GROUP NO. 4.......................................187
ENGLISH SPEAKING GROUP NO. 3......................................189
SYSTHESIS OF COUNTRY ACTION PLANS......................................195
PARTICIPANT LIST................................................ .......199
Mr. Stephen Giddings, RHUDO Director; Mr. Emil Kei Boguinard,
Ivorian Minister of State; Mr. Denis Bra Kanon,
Ivorian Minister of Agriculture
Sunday, January 8
LEAVE ABIDJAN FOR YAMOUSSOUKRO
CONFERENCE REGISTRATION, HOTEL PRESIDENT
Monday, January 9
INTRODUCTION TO THE CONFERENCE
SUMMARY OF MALAWI CONFERENCE RECOMMENDATIONS
Speaker: B.M. PHIRI
Ministry of Local Government, Malawi
Promoting Rural Growth: People, Places, and Priorities
Speaker: David Gow
Development Alternatives, Inc.,
Washington, D.C. USA
Urban Centers and Agricultural Market Networks
Speaker: Ismael Ouedraogo
Institute Scienfifique de Recherche Agricole,
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Building Effective Rural-Urban Linkages Through Market
Speaker: Dennis Rondinelli
Research Triangle Institute,
North Carolina, USA
Building Local Government Capacity for Economic
Speaker: Philippe Harding
Director of Local Government,
Ministry of Interior, C6te d'Ivoire
Panel Discussion on Donor Experience in Market Town
Tuesday, January 10
Women in Market Activities
Speaker: Anita Spring
Director, Women and Agriculture Program
Impacts of Investments on Rural Growth
Speaker: Roger Poulin
Development Alternatives, Inc.
Washington, D.C. USA
Private Sector and Micro-Enterprise Development
Speaker: Yves Marguerat
Field Trips to Market Centers (Oume and Sinfra)
Wednesday, January 11
Rural-Urban Exchange Study of Kutus Town, Kenya
Speaker: Eric Chetwynd
Bureau for Science and Technology
USAID, Washington, D.C. USA
Rooms: Alabo, N'Zi, Kousou, Kan
Small Group Discussions
Small Group Discussions
Thursday, January 12
Presentation of Small Group Reports
Preparation of Country Action Plans
Preparation of Country Action Plans
Presentation of Selected Country Action Plans
Friday, January 13
Tour of Yamoussoukro
DEPARTURE FOR ABIDJAN
IPPI ~c~; L
Sr; K _
The opening ceremonies: Mr.
of Interior, Mr. Emile Kei
Mr. Denis Bra Kanon, Minister
Leon Konan Koffi, Ivorian Minister
Boguinard, Minister of State, and
of Agriculture and Rural Development
MR. WARREN WIENSTEIN
ADMINISTRATOR, AFRICA BUREAU
SAID, WASHINGTON, DC
Market Development in Africa
Market development in Africa has been constrained by various factors over
the last few decades. Marginal natural resource endowments, a history of
extraction and market suppression, and the lack of effective demand have led
to relatively stagnant market behaviour compared to experiences in Asia or
Latin America. As a result, economic growth has been retarded, because of the
recognition that incomes to factors of production can only be realized when
goods or services are "sold" in an exchange system. Moreover, if the number
of exchanges are limited, as they have been due to the monopolistic structure
of most African markets, then the potential for increasing economic rents is
minimal. Hence, the market development strategy that AID's Africa Bureau is
crafting for its assistance package to Sub-saharan Africa is one which
attempts to stimulate rapid economic growth by increasing the rate of exchange
occurring in all markets and by insuring access and broad participation in
each one of them.
Markets are places where exchanges take place, where purveyors (the
sellers) of goods or services exchange them for an agreed upon value, of money
or other goods or services, offered by purchasers (the buyers). Until
recently, most exchanges occurred in specified "locales" or market places.
Today, given the sophistication of modern communication technology and the
enforcement of contracts with weights, standards and measures, a market
becomes more of an abstraction rather than a place. However, in actuality,
the act of arbitrage or trading is most often carried our by marketing
specialists of one kind or another, located where the trading takes place.
Since few exchanges are actually carried our between primary producers and
ultimate consumers, a host of marketing agents have evolved to perform a whole
set of related marketing functions, such as collection, assemble, packaging,
sorting, financing, storage, processing and distribution. For agricultural
goods with some degree of perishability, it is virtually certain that several
handlers, middlemen or intermediaries will own the goods in between production
and consumption, unless complete vertical integration captures these functions
under one management system. The activities carried out between production
and consumption, are known to make up the market channel, and the distance
between each end of this channel and the degree of perishability of the
commodity determines the complexity of this channel. The complexity of the
channel, especially if product transformation is required before consumption,
affects the spread in value paid for a primary product (at the farm-gate, the
assembly market or the rural corral or holding pens) and the price paid by the
ultimate consumer. These activities act like a production function or, in
some cases are considered to be the extension of the production function, and
in that sense incorporates factors of production for the services rendered.
What should be recognized is that a marketing function must be carried our
between production and consumption, and that it would be naive to think that
the movement of commodities from producing areas to consuming areas could be
accomplished without rather sophisticated marketing actors.
Nevertheless, the value of the spread mentioned above determines the
level of returns earned for these factors of production of marketing services
and this difference is referred to as the transactions costs for marketing.
In order to ensure that any given marketing system is operating efficiently,
one must simply compare returns to factors in this process with their costs in
the economy-wide factor markets. If the economy's factor markets are in
equilibrium and earnings in marketing equal costs, the marketing system will
be operating competitively.
However, few countries if any, enjoy freedom from distortions to allow
the competitive allocation of production factors throughout all markets in
their economy. Usually, policies exist which tend to distort allocative
decisions affecting productive enterprises, consumption patterns, and market
behaviour. More specifically, African markets have been traditionally over
controlled by colonial Governments, by commodity export monopolies, by
parastatals and marketing boards, and by rurals governing land set asides and
reserves. Moreover, communal land rights and customs have restricted open
market activities. These situations have created monopolistic markets, not in
the sense of exaggerated returns to production factors, but in the degree to
which market access has been restricted to those in control. Because market
participation has been limited, technical and entrepreneurial progress has
also been slow. The result is that the monopolistic (product) and
monopsonistic (supply) markets have been caught in the low-productivity trap.
New techniques, products and organizational forms have not materialized. The
who market system has been stagnant. Although this description fits the
majority of African cases, some markets are bursting out of these constraints
and creating vibrant, dynamic, competitive situations.
To break out of this low-productivity trap, several elements are needed,
some of which are occurring naturally as mentioned above. The rush to
urbanization, often exceeding %7 per annum, is beginning to create a greater
effective demand for agricultural and non-agricultural commodities. Without
the growth of cities and the transition from a rural population to an urban
population, the growth process in terms of income and employment will falter
(see Mellor, the Economic Transformation, Agricultural Development, Cornell
University Press, 1964). In addition, technological innovation in
agricultural products vis a vis the price of inputs (the ration Py/Px) must be
significantly greater than one, (see Hayami-Ruttan's Theory of Induced
Technological and Institutional Innovation). Secondly, new agricultural
technologies more aptly suited to the stressed African environments are
required which can generate a sustainable agricultural surplus. Although the
emerging technologies do not generate the impact experienced with Asia's
"Green Revolution", it is projected that the new stress-tolerant technologies
now emerging will produce a "greening effect" and this is beginning to take
place throughout the continent. Lastly, a breakdown of monopolistic
structures in marketing is required. This must be done initially with policy
reforms, and then, following up with incentives for increased market
participation. Facilities for market catchment development that is, an area
of on-going and expanding market activities, can stimulate this change.
What emerges from this discussion as the remedy for market development to
enhance economic growth is an interventionist approach or strategy which is
Increase Effective Demand
Effective demand comes about when a greater proportion of the population
is located outside the production areas, i.e. in towns and cities, with
remunerative employment, such that they can purchase food and consumer goods -
unemployed city dwellers do not contribute to effective demand. Hence, a
policy of employment generation in urban areas and townships is necessary.
AID's initiatives in micro-enterprises, small-scale manufacturing and
vertically integrated agro-processing industries contributes to satisfying
this objective in the market development strategy.
Additionally, some products emerging from the aforementioned marginal
natural resource base can be transformed to fit niches in specific export
markets. As exports are promoted, effective demand increases.
Lastly, more emphasis on value-added processing can increase demand.
Many goods are currently imported, with a huge drain on scarce foreign
exchange, and could be processed and provided locally. New opportunities need
to be identified from the demand side to be translated down to the market
catchment areas for implementation.
And for a response to effective demand to be realized, price signals must
be transferred through marketing agents to producers and processors. Price
information systems are critical needs for implementing this strategy.
Stimulate Demand for Appropriate Technologies
Farmers and small-scale producers operate under severe risk profiles.
Technologies which are not stress-tolerant are inappropriate for these kinds
of producers. Although several decades have been wasted attempting to
introduce high-input technologies into highly stressed environments or by
using capital structures to modify the environment, Africans are now
recognizing that new technologies have been developed that can produce a
surplus from marginal environments without generating high risks due to costly
input use. Examples of these technologies include alley cropping, agro-
forestry, oil seeds, leguminous fodders and oils, sorghum and millet,
leguminous range-land grasses, and water harvesting techniques that reduce the
risks of drought. Livestock production can then be fostered to use these
products as well. The critical point here is to introduce technologies which
are stress-tolerant and produce a surplus but use few purchased inputs.
Create "Enabling Conditions" for Competitive Market Catchment Development
A framework is needed that creates the dynamic environment in which all
markets can function and flourish. Within the context of a market catchment
strategy, located in secondary or tertiary market towns, policies,
institutions and infrastructures need to be introduced to promote and service
the following markets:
Credit Markets Fromal and Informal
Commodity Markets Crops, Livestock, Minerals
Input Supply Markets
Consumer Goods Markets
Markets for Micro-enterprises, Small-scale Manufacturing and
Processing (Value-added Processing of Raw Materials)
Each of these markets has its own set of requirements or "enabling"
conditions which allow it to function in a healthy, dynamic state. The
greater the surplus production which is elicited or derived from a catchmment
area, the greater the need for each of these markets to be functioning
properly. The market framework that is created acts as a funnel through which
each of the sub-market structures pass through. By concentrating activities
in one location economies of scale in certain market functions are reached,
such as financing for deposits and production or marketing credit,
communications and transportation, market stall infrastructure, public
utilities, or drawing or attracting a pool of casual laborers. The "enabling"
conditions required for these markets to function healthily encompass a
necessary set of policies, institutions, and infrastructure.
Policies which control or condition market behaviour are most often
dependent upon decisions made at the national level. This means that any
attempt to design market catchment interventions must first analyze current
policies and their effects on market behavior and growth, and ascertain to
what extent they need modification. 2 If modification is required, this needs
to be addressed before a market catchment intervention can be fully
1/Town Markets encompass the market for local government services, government
employment, public services and entilities, local revenue generation, and
development fund disbursements through local authorities.
2/Afr/MDI's Manual for Analysis of the Private Sector (MAPS) is one way to
identify and screen these policy issues and effects.
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successful. Once the principal policy constraints are covered, then
interventions can be made to introduce institutional changes at the local
level, and to develop the necessary physical infrastructures. Criteria for
sight selection for where these interventions should take place, must take
into consideration existing market activity and the potential for its
For the most part in Africa, institutional development outside the
national capital or central city is lacking. Perhaps the degree of
institutional capacity is directly correlated with the level of extraction of
surplus commodities. Input supply services with accompanying credit
facilities are not necessary if farmer's risks are so high as to make the use
of purchased inputs uneconomic. Although it is generally recognized that new
agricultural technologies depend upon higher levels of technical inputs, such
technologies, for the majority of Africa, are inappropriate, and have not been
adopted on a major scale. While high levels of agricultural inputs may not be
required, as was the case in Asia, an input package at a more minimal level is
still required. Adoption of this minimal level of inputs requires a new set
of institutions to provide them. For example, most often in Africa, there is
a need for seed varieties for dry land crops rather than hybrid seeds for high
input crops. The required institutions include delivery of appropriate seeds,
contract farming, farm implements, the supply of the appropriate fertilizer
mix, etc. Without the introduction of these new institutional forms, the
adoption of the minimal set of inputs will not materialize. If new
technologies require institutional supports beyond what is currently present
and operating in order to be adopted en masse then these institutional
supports must be introduced artificially at the onset with the introduction of
the new technologies.
A certain degree of physical infrastructure is necessary to carry our
exchange activities. Although it has been shown that the construction of
buildings or pavilions to house marketing activities does not always insure
their use, a judicious selection of key sights and minimal structures can be
used to stimulate more active market behavior. In addition to physical
structures, services and utilities are also important, such as electricity,
sanitation, water, communication and transportation and roads. Once a market
place starts to flourish, housing and building construction comes into demand
along with social services in health and education. Eventually, land markets,
land rehabilitation and land improvements take place. Most of these
activities can be introduced by the private sector when the demand arises and
the need becomes apparent. However, this will require decentralization that
allows localities to respond to changing conditions and to support them. It
will also require a decentralization that allows a shirt between public and
private goods that reflects the changing relationship between the public
sector and the private sector as markets expand and grow.
** Services refer to credit for inputs and marketing inventories,
transportation, marketing, adaptive testing, extension, market information,
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Once the policies, institutions and infrastructures are in place, the
aforementioned set of markets referred to earlier in this paper can expand
their exchange activities, and the whole system can rapidly feed on itself,
and the volume of exchanges will grow. In any market catchment, the
congregation of people will create the demand for generating food surpluses
and for the distribution of consumer goods. When surplus agricultural
commodities are produced and sold, the additional incomes derived will in turn
increase the demand for food services and more consumer goods. The multiplier
effect sets in the spiral grows to encompass larger and larger communities.
As this happens, the demand for finance and credit services expands, more jobs
are created in the labor market, inputs are needed for all kinds of
activities, and local governments will have the opportunity to generate taxes
or user fees to finance public services. Local governments must also obtain
greater fiscal responsibility including the potential to issue municipal bonds
and other local revenue generating financial activities.
In conclusion, it can be seen that the development of a market catchment
strategy creates the framework in which the entire sub-set of markets can
function, be integrated, and grow independently or in tandem with others. The
types of market catchment interventions envisioned lie in the area of policy
modifications, adjustments, and reforms at the national and local levels so as
to create the stimulus for market exchange and a private sector atmosphere;
designing appropriate institutional supports and services that fit the
technology levels being introduced; and building only that infrastructure that
is absolutely necessary for the adequate functioning of the markets which
appear in the catchment and for which demand is clearly demonstrated. Such a
strategy implicitly endorses the concept of market town development as an
overarching concept that incorporates the functioning of the entire sub-set of
markets, as a funnel through which commodities flow from rural to urban demand
centers, and from which goods and services from urban production centers are
delivered to rural consumers.
"2116B drafted by Kenneth Swanberg, AFR/MDI, 12/28/88"
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Mr. Warren Weinstein, USAID and
the Ivorian Minister of State, Emile Kei Boguinard
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MR. LEON KONAN KOFFI
MINISTER OF INTERIOR
REPUBLIQUE DE COTE D'IVOIRE
Mr. Minister of State, representing the Head of State,
Ministers and dear Colleagues,
Prefect of Yamoussoukro,
Mayor of Yamoussoukro,
Your Excellency the Ambassador of the United States,
Representative of USAID,
Representatives of International Organizations,
Ladies and Gentlemen representing Sister Nations,
Last November, in Washington, the Federal Capital of the United States of
America, in the District of Columbia, the Conference on Housing and Urban
Development Policies was held under the sponsorship of USAID. This Conference
provided the eminent guests from all Continents, Oceania excepted, an
opportunity to appreciate the splendid beauty of the city of Washington, the
hospitality of the American people and the cooperative spirit of its leaders.
Today, on January 8, 1989, Yamoussoukro, the Capital of Cote d'Ivoire, is
host to representatives from Sub-Saharan Africa and from the United States,
who came to discuss the following theme: "Market-Towns and Rural Development:
Economic and Social Linkages".
Although it is difficult to draw up a parallel between Washington and
Yamoussoukro, I cannot refrain from noting that the builder of the new Capital
of C8te d'Ivoire, President Houphouet-Boigny, has a deep admiration for
Georges Washington, the first President of the United States, who gave his
prestigious name to its Capital. The visitor will understand, then, why
Yamoussoukro has an urban structure which bears some resemblance with that of
How can we be unmoved by the immense honor for our country to host this
Seminar, whereby the US Government and the organizers pay tribute to the
President of the Republic of C6te d'Ivoire, to the friend of the free world
and to the apostle of peace.
On behalf of the people, the Government and the President of Cote
d'Ivoire, I would like to welcome the eminent representatives to this
Conference and to assure them that they will find in C6te d'Ivoire, and above
all in Yamoussoukro, perhaps less physical amenities, but a human warmth
commensurate with our open policy with the rest of the world. They will enjoy
the hospitality of its inhabitants, of the Municipal Council and the Mayor of
Yamoussoukro, who have never failed us in similar circumstances.
Yamoussoukro, a peaceful town on the edge between the forest and the
savannah, a town which preserves its rural atmosphere, seems to me to be a
good location for a meeting which will study the linkages between urban and
rural areas, for the benefit of their mutual development, and will undoubtedly
take the following factors into account:
1. The large marketing channels which are basic to the activities of
2. The goals of both rural and urban areas, which no doubt interact
with one another, because of the near mechanical linkages which exist between
rural and urban communities;
3. The concerns of the authorities which want to disseminate progress
beyond cities and towns, thereby reducing regional inequalities while trying
to have each area take part, in its own way, in the national development;
4. The concerns of the Government to reach every citizen, however far
he or she may be from urban centers;
5. The requirements of human development and welfare for the benefit of
the most underprivileged groups, such as women and youth in rural areas.
I do not wish to speak for the eminent specialists and experts who will
work relentlessly for nearly one week, with concern and wisdom, to draw some
useful conclusions; however, I would like to say a few words about the Ivorian
In our country, the producers, that is essentially the rural population,
the marketing and town-supply channels, the trade centers which this seminar
calls market-towns, are still to be organized.
As far as producers are concerned, we should, on the one hand, take steps
so that they can improve their agricultural practices in order to increase
their productivity and, on the other hand, develop systems for preserving,
then marketing their production so as to avoid that the product of their work
he bought by hard-bargaining, unscrupulous intermediaries.
In this connection, our Government has set up a series of structures to
provide technical supervision and assistance to farmers; such structures are
beginning to bear fruit. The farmers themselves are now organized in
production and marketing cooperative societies, which protect them from all
sorts of dangers.
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Our seminar should try and identify and codify the various trade linkages
which exist or should exist between rural and urban areas, in order to bring a
more fruitful communications.
The regular supply of commodities to towns supposes that commodities are
better preserved, particularly since our country is tropical, and since our
crops are highly seasonal, because of the total lack of irrigation systems.
Aware of this basic need, the President of the Republic has decided to
build dams throughout the country; he has instructed the research
organizations to orient their work towards conservation and processing of food
Finally, there is no true agricultural policy without an underlying
marketing policy. The Ivorian Government has developed a series of systems
for collecting our main crops, either for export or for domestic consumption.
Thus, the Office of agricultural support and price stabilization, the
equalization Fund, OCPVA and others do help improve the disposal of these
Markets are the responsibility of the communes which, for the last ten
years, have made considerable efforts to build trade complexes and to organize
agricultural fairs in order to better acquaint the citizens with our
production capacities and to suggest to the rural population the possible
outlets for their production. An interaction is thus established between urban
and rural areas, so that programs can be set up, which are adapted to the
requirements and tastes of urban consumers.
All this is only possible if a certain balance and a certain population
ratio are maintained between urban and rural areas. This explains why our
Government has been fighting rural exodus since Independence through a strong
policy which promotes the return of youth to the countryside and through a
daring policy of improving living conditions in rural areas, particularly in
the field of housing, village water supply, public health, education and
electrification; such improvements tend to decrease the attraction of towns
over villages, and to maintain productive capacity in place.
To achieve these goals, the Government is using Regional Development
Funds, which are based in the principle of village participation in public
investments in rural areas, taking into account the actual financial abilities
of the rural communities concerned, and with the goal of correcting regional
unbalances. Thus, for the same investment, a population center located in a
prosperous area pays a higher contribution than another one in the
On the other hand, the Government helps farmers clear land for crop
cultivation through an original system, namely the Corporation for
agricultural mechanization and modernization which, unfortunately, has less
and less resources because of the crisis which is striking hard at our
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The goal is to ensure a balanced national growth. As President
Houphouet-Bopigny said: "we must avoid that, within its own borders, Cate
d'Ivoire have its own Third World".
The Ivorian Government, which has worked along these lines, expect the
farmers, who are the beneficiaries of these various investments, to become
aware of the need for a more active and useful integration in the life of the
nation, on the basis of solidarity among the rural and urban worlds.
We do hope that this Seminar will bring about educational benefits which
will lead to an acceptance of this major concern for the success or rural-
A review of linkages between towns and rural areas could not leave aside
the question of the role of women, who are indispensable for the survival of
the rural areas, and youth, who are the source of population renewal. These
segments of population, which are as fragile as they are useful, deserve a
The Ivorian Government did not remain indifferent to such a situation and
can be proud of the steps taken for the benefit of women, who are treated on
an equal footing as men, and for the benefit of youth, to encourage them to
return to the land, thereby taking over from their farming parents or grand-
We believe, therefore, that the choice which women and youth have to make
between under-development in rural areas and development in towns can be
helped by transferring the achievement of progress from towns to villages.
The experience of rural development in industrial nations, such as U.K. and
U.S.A. has shown that rural areas can enjoy the same modern amenities as urban
We are far from having mentioned all the interesting items in this
seminar; however, ladies and gentlemen, as you have the important task of
enlightening us on new linkages which are to be established between cities and
rural centers, we are calling on you to find solutions to alleviate the social
burdens which, rightly or wrongly, are bearing on urban and rural communities.
Taking as a basis the excellent studies of INADES, we conclude that, more
than ever, the young nations, including ours, must live like the rest of the
Thus, they must "share the risks, the messages and the changes of a
constantly evolving world", a world which must be based on solidarity. May
this meeting, organized and sponsored by the U.S. Government, with the
participation of representatives of so many countries with widely different
standards of living, be the forerunner of a new type of relationships between
our countries, based solely on interdependence and active solidarity.
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How, thus, can we avoid hoping that your Seminar takes place under
favorable omens, in this Ivorian city of Yamoussoukro, which we consider as
the capital of peace, so that friendship among nations replace henceforth
division among countries.
Long live the United States of America,
Long Live C6te d'Ivoire,
Long live international cooperation.
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Mr. Jean Konan Banny, Mayor of Yamoussoukro
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PROMOTING RURAL GROWTH: PEOPLE, PLACES AND PRIORITIES
DAVID D. GOW
624 NINTH ST., N.W.
WASHINGTON, DC 20001 U.S.A.
Although there is much debate on how to address the developmental
problems in Africa, there is, I believe, a consensus, based on theory and
practical experience, that agricultural development does not occur in a
vacuum. In fact, the history of agricultural change and innovation is really
a history of agriculture evolving because of new relationships to other
sectors or substantial modification of the physical or general economic
environment (Wilcock et al. 1988, Vol. 1:102-103). Some of these linkages are
self-evident, such as transportation and marketing, although others are more
complex and deeper, such as industry and manufacturing. But these linkages
usually more closely integrate the rural and urban areas, so that the places
where development occurs -- as well as the people who make it happen -- are
key to the whole process.
In this paper, I would like to do the following:
Provide a definition od development and thereby provide a context for
Review and critique current thinking on market towns and rural-urban
Review and discuss current thinking on the main constraints to African
development, with particular emphasis on agriculture and the urban
Describe some recent development experiences in West Africa -- with a
focus on integrated rural development and rural-urban linkages; and
Propose some lessons learned and guidelines for the future.
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A DEFINITION OF DEVELOPMENT
Development should be distinguished from economic growth, which refers to
expansion of the measured output of goods and services. Output can be
produced by the severe exploitation of labor -- with the resulting profits
being channelled to private bank accounts in foreign tax havens. Also, growth
can be achieved at the cost of severe environmental degradation and gross
overcrowding (Toye 1987:1-2). These costs are high and antithetical to my
definition of development.
The record of the past 15 years of development initiatives in the Third
World is disappointing: large dollops of assistance from both national
governments and international donors have not led to noticeable improvements
in either the productivity or general well-being of the poor, who account for
a majority of the developing world's population. Issues of underproductivity,
natural resource degradation, increasing demographic pressure on the land,
accelerated urbanization, and lack of employment opportunities continue to be
primordial (Cohen, Grindle, and Walker 1985).
Paradoxically, this was also the era when increasing importance was given
-- at least on the part of the donor community -- to benefiting the rural
poor. This concern was fueled by the New Directions mandate legislated into
law by the U.S. Congress in 1973. The objective of this mandate was to focus
development assistance on the poorest 40 percent of the population in
developing countries, often located in rural areas. This focus was to be
achieved through emphasis on participation, agricultural cooperation, more
equitable distribution of land and income, and labor-intensive agriculture.
Profound changes were called for on the part of Third World governments --
particularly in their national development policies and the institutions
responsible for implementing these reforms (Morss and Morss 1982:28).
Although there are many explanations for this change in American
development assistance policy -- including frustration with previous
strategies, the failure of the "hearts and minds" approach pursued with fervor
in Southeast Asia, the realization that Third World countries would create
their own models of development, and the perception that the benefits of
previous assistance had not been reaching the poor --there was an underlying
moral dimension that stressed the humanitarian over the strategic and
political goals of development assistance.
In 1973, the Foreign Assistance Act was significantly amended to reflect
these concerns (U.S. Congress 1975:66):
United States bilateral development assistance should give the
highest priority to undertakings submitted by host governments which
directly improve the lives of the poorest of their people and their
capacity to participate in the development of their country.
- 24 -
The key words underlying this decision are improve, poorest, and participate
-- words that owe much to more liberal definitions of the meaning of
development and that have strongly influenced social scientists working in
this field. These intellectual underpinnings often went hand in hand with
certain value judgments about development and the political implications of
what was being proposed. Writing in 1969, Seers (1979:10) stated that:
Development is inevitably a normative concept, almost a synonym for
improvement. To pretend otherwise is just to hide one's own value
Underlying this approach is a belief that development means increasing
the capacity of people, both rural and urban, to influence and control their
futures, a goal that some believe can be achieved by meeting the following
objectives (Bryant and White 1982:15-17; Chambers 1983: 140-167; DeWalt 1988;
Esman and Uphoff 1984:27-28; Gow and VanSant 1983; Gran 1983:145-175; Morss,
Gow, and Nordlinger 1985):
Capacity: This has both micro and macro aspects involving changes
in the individual, the community, and the nation -- to include the
capacity to develop political and social institutions responsible
for production and allocation of resources.
Equity: On the one hand, long-term economic development is
stimulated by increasing the human resources in a country and by
equalizing the ability to consume. On the other, ensuring more
equality in access to benefits is a value in itself.
Empowerment: If powerlessness is to be addressed, the poor must
have some political leverage in order to correct grossly unfair
decisions regarding the allocation of development resources and
distribution of the ensuing benefits.
Sustainability: Development includes a long-range concern for the
future and the principal objective of development initiatives
should be to generate self-sustaining improvements in human
capability and well-being. For benefits to be sustained, various
factors have to be dealt with -- including environmental,
financial, institutional, political, and economic.
CURRENT THINKING ON THE ROLE OF MARKET TOWNS
Market towns and small cities play crucial roles in agricultural
production, food distribution, and marketing. In theory, they can provide
outlets for agricultural goods and products of cottage industries from
surrounding rural areas. They can provide investment and employment
opportunities for both town and rural residents in a wide range of
agricultural processing and market-related trade activities. They can
function as agricultural supply centers, providing equipment, seeds,
fertilizer, machinery, repair services, and information needed for
agricultural development. Many towns and small cities can also offer an
impressive array of economic, personal, commercial, and public and social
services needed by rural households (Rondinelli 1988).
Although a great deal of empirical evidence suggests that towns and small
cities can and do perform beneficial functions for rural residents, there are
strong indications that few urban centers actually promote growth,
transformation, and integration in rural areas. This wide gap between
potential and actual performance is another reason for the renewed interest in
towns and small cities in the Third World (Rondinelli 1983). There is, in
fact, a growing consensus from a variety of disciplines and contexts that,
without the rural chicken, the urban egg may be sterile and infertile.
One innovative approach has been the introduction of spatial analysis
into regional planning through what has become known as the urban functions in
rural development (UFRD) approach. In brief, this is a way of assessing the
settlement system within a region in order to distribute new investments in
services, facilities, infrastructure, and productive activities more
efficiently and more equitably. A key assumption is that greater physical
access for the rural poor to services, facilities, and productive activities
located in towns and cities can be an important factor in increasing the
incomes and raising the standards of living of the rural population
(Rondinelli 1985). Regional development is to be achieved through a program
of planned investment in hamlets, towns, and cities that will promote growth
in the surrounding rural areas (Painter 1987).
This key assumption that the benefits from urban investments will trickle
down to the countryside has recently been questioned by Belsky and Karasksa
(1986; Karaska and Belsky 1987). From their perspective, UFRD projects often
exacerbate inequities in resource distribution between urban centers and the
countryside and they propose to shift analyses of rural-urban dynamics to more
directly focus on rural development. They distinguish three types of
commodity flows -- those that enter the region from elsewhere to be consumed
locally, those that originate within the region and are consumed locally, and
the outward flow of locally produced goods that leave the region. Since these
latter are generally responsible for generating most rural income, through
both production and trade, they suggest that effective investment could be
targeted to this system, while evaluating the possible impacts of change upon
the existing system of production and trade (Painter 1987).
In Africa there is a growing acceptance, particularly on the part of the
donor community, of the crucial role that agriculture must play in overall
development and economic growth (Rondinelli 1988). Johnston (1986) has drawn
attention to the "purchasing power constraint" that characterizes a country
where the domestic commercial market for agricultural products is small
relative to the large number of farm households. Because the agricultural
sector in African countries is subject to severe cash income or purchasing-
power constraints, the extent to which expansion of agricultural output can be
- 26 -
based on increased use of purchased inputs is limited. Consequently, broad-
based agricultural development can and should help to encourage more rapid
expansion of nonfarm output and employment opportunities, stimulating
stronger, more productive relationships between agricultural, urban, and
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: MAJOR CONSTRAINTS
The major constraints that prevent an increase in agricultural
productivity and a concomitant strengthening of rural-urban linkages can be
divided into the following six broad categories (Gow 1988a; Gow and Morss
Political, economic, and financial factors;
Environmental, demographic, and natural resource factors;
Local organizational factors; and
Political, Economic, and Financial Factors
Agricultural development in particular and economic growth in general are
neither designed nor implemented in a vacuum; they are integral parts of the
broader policy and political environment. National policies and plans, with
their resultant strategies, programs, and projects, are quintessentially
political because they deal not only with the allocation of scarce resources
among competing groups, but also with the achievement of specific objectives,
of which increasing agricultural productivity may not be the most important.
The same qualifier can be applied to development assistance offered by the
The issue is often one of economic rationality, as interpreted by the
donors, versus political rationality as interpreted by the recipients, those
who have to live with the consequences of the decisions taken. Cohen,
Grindle, and Walker (1985) tell a story about a senior World Bank official
complaining bitterly about ministers and permanent secretaries in a Third
World country who stubbornly refused to accept the "sensible" conditions
demanded by structural loans. The potential recipients, of course, had to
worry about the potential political fallout from "sensible" economic and
administrative reform proposals and weigh them against equally "sensible"
- 27 -
concerns about political stability, legitimacy, and support building and about
the political importance and reward systems of bureaucratic structures.
With few exceptions, African governments have given priority to industry
over agriculture in national development strategies and have taxed agriculture
to finance industrialization and social services (Eicher 1988: 12-14). A
careful review of the publications of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)
and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) substantiates this view.
However, this bias changed dramatically as a result of Africa's economic
collapse in the early 1980s, the famine of 1984-1985, and the horror of one
million deaths from famine in Ethiopia in 1985.
Until recently there was another policy bias, this time in favor of
large-scale farm enterprises (Johnston 1986). This was so because it was
often assumed that economies of scale were so important in agriculture that a
small-farm development strategy was bound to be inefficient. In fact, there
is abundant evidence that small-farm development strategies are more
economical in achieving sector-wide expansion of agricultural production when
the opportunity cost of farm labor is low because of the lack of off-farm
The experiences of Japan and Taiwan -- although not necessarily
replicable because of Africa's very diverse natural resource base that is
predominantly rainfed -- illustrate some of the critical ingredients of
success of a small farm oriented system. These include an efficient
agricultural research system, rural infrastructure, efficient distribution of
inputs, and a broad educational system.
Smallholder agriculture is now firmly entrenched in policy circles in
many African countries, so much so, in fact, that there is little support for
middle-sized family farms with a pair of oxen and some hired labor. But
recent evidence indicates they can play a key role in agricultural
development: they are innovators and risk takers, they provide a
demonstration effect for their neighbors, and they can provide employment
A final area where the policy arena has directly affected agriculture and
its linkages with urban areas is food consumption patterns, often western-
style which become synonymous with development (Aboyade 1988). West Africa
has the most unsustainable food consumption profile in Sub-Saharan Africa
(SSA) and the most pessimistic food outlook in the medium-term (Eicher 1988).
This pessimism is fueled by four processes. First, there has been a rapid
shift to rice, wheat, and other "fast foods" that are much easier and quicker
to prepare than millet or sorghum.
Second, agronomic research on the principal staples -- sorghum and millet
-- has been slow and there has been little progress on either in the Sahel.
The same holds for more recent crops, such as wheat, with the lack of
varieties tolerant to heat, and rice, with the lack of improved varieties for
rainfed areas. Finally, as the competitiveness of West African exports has
declined, so has the rural income for purchasing food.
- 28 -
Environmental, Natural Resource, and Demographic Factors
African countries show marked variation in climate and natural resource
endowment. Contrasting climates and the lack of one or other resource for
development characterize many countries on the continent, for example large
expanses of unproductive land, sandy soils inherently deficient in phosphorus,
and highly erosive rains. For the past 20 years, drought and below-average
rainfall have afflicted much of Africa. The most critical environmental
issues for agriculture in Africa, and hence for rural growth in general, are
the deterioration of the soils, the loss of vegetative cover and diversity,
changes in the nature of water systems above and below the ground surface, and
environmental health problems of farmers and livestock.
Two factors have seriously affected soil loss and the concomitant
decrease in both fertility and productivity. The first is the effect of
differing techniques of cultivation on levels of soil loss, a process of
steady change from bush fallow systems of shifting cultivation to more
intensive methods employing more mechanical means (Freeman 1986). The second
factor is the large increase in the conversion of land to agriculture. About
half the land cultivated in Africa has been cleared since 1920, and there has
been a great increase in cultivation of land during the last two decades,
particularly in semiarid areas, those areas most prone to mismanagement and
Much of this increase in area cultivated has been fueled by population
growth. At 3 percent, Africa's rate is the highest in the world and
population growth has outstripped food production in all but five countries:
Sudan, Rwanda, Cameroon, Cte d'Ivoire, and the Central African Republic.
Growth rates have been particularly high in countries that were hit hard by
the drought. This growth rate will result in a doubling of population in 15
to 20 years in most countries, thus increasing pressure on land and other
natural resources, such as fuelwood, grazing areas, and national parks (Eicher
There is a growing realization, however, by social scientists of the
close relationship between resource degradation and poverty (Horowitz 1988:4):
But there is little evidence that the World Bank understands -- and
no evidence that the regional multilateral banks understand -- that
sustainable improvements in the environmental health of the earth
require prior and parallel improvements in the economic health of
the poor, especially the agrarian proletariat and smallholders who
continue to make up the largest fraction of the Third World. That
is, there is little understanding outside our discipline
[anthropology] that environmental degradation is not a problem of
the relationship between people and their habitats but relationships
among peoples competing for access to scarce resources.
- 29 -
There is mounting evidence that people living in fragile lands that are
subject to dramatic changes -- natural, man-made, or a combination of both --
respond with a high degree of flexibility and an escalating set of strategies,
according to the gravity of the situation (Waddell 1983). In addition, such
strategies offer a wealth of technical approaches with potentially broader
applicability (Brokensha, Warren, and Werner 1980).
In such a situation, the conventional development approach is to try and
ensure that farmers have employment, jobs, training, or assets that will
provide for all or most of their needs. But a more viable alternative is to
strengthen their existing strategies (Chambers and Leach 1987). A common,
perhaps universal, priority expressed by poor people is the desire for an
adequate, secure, decent livelihood that provides for physical and social
well-being, including security against sickness, early death, and
impoverishment. But once basic survival is secured, under safe and secure
conditions, there appears to be a strong propensity to stint and save when the
opportunity arises and take the long view -- for example, the sacrifices
parents will make to invest in their children's education or the extraordinary
tenacity with which farmers will struggle to retain rights in land (Chambers
1987a). An approach that provides people with the necessary base on which to
build and create for the future is a prerequisite for good stewardship and
long-term, sustainable development (Chambers 1987b:3).
Demographers generally agree that family-planning programs have been
ineffective in Africa. The authors of a recent comparative study of family
planning in Africa and Asia concluded that the differences in rates of
adoption were not only because African countries are at an earlier stage of
socioeconomic development. More important were the differences in African
family structures, economies, and religious attitudes toward fertility that
severely limit the ability of African states to implement forceful family
planning programs (Caldwell and Caldwell 1984:19).
Another consequence of demographic growth has been rapid urbanization and
increasing migration, internal and external, the result of economic crisis in
the rural areas, as two decades of governmental neglect of rural development
needs has made itself felt. Africa's cities are growing faster than those in
any other region of the world, many at a rate of more than 5 percent per year.
During 1980-1985, the urban population of Zaire grew by an annual rate of 8.4
percent, that of Niger grew by 7 percent, and that of Cte d'Ivoire grew by 6.9
percent (World Bank 1988:284).
Urban migrants usually remit considerable amounts of money to their home
villages, not only to support family members but also -- where opportunities
exist -- to invest in agricultural expansion and improvement. These close
rural-urban ties and linkages give an inevitably populist character to African
society. Because these ties are largely invisible to outsiders, they tend to
be ignored by analysts and policy makers (Hyden 1986:57).
- 30 -
Technological Factors: Temperate Biases and Technical Fixes
Research and testing to develop improved agricultural technologies have
focused heavily on flat areas most resembling the temperate zones. The
technologies developed for these areas -- for either the environmental or the
social conditions --are rarely relevant for the humid tropics, and arid and
semiarid regions of Africa. Worse, their use may lower production and promote
rapid deterioration of the productive resource base (Hansen and Erbaugh 1987).
I mentioned earlier that research on the Sahelian staples -- sorghum and
millet -- has been slow, as has research on better-adapted varieties of wheat
and rice. Such deficiencies in research and other support services, together
with inadequate financing for the construction and maintenance of rural roads
and transportation networks, have been important factors in unsatisfactory
rates of rural development (Johnston 1986).
There is only a limited amount of new and tested technology on the shelf
waiting to be used by farmers. Dissemination of technology is difficult
because of the following interrelated factors: the scarcity of resources, the
large number of farmers who must be reached, insufficient transport and
communication, and weak extension institutions -- or alternative mechanisms --
to spread the available new technologies to the local population. This is
partly because agricultural research and extension systems are relatively new,
especially in SSA (Wilcock et al., 1988, Vol.1:35).
In spite of the evidence to date, this lack of available technology has
not stopped the "technical fix" approach to sustainable agricultural
development, an approach followed by technicians who believe that many of the
more complex developmental problems in the Third World and elsewhere have
There is a growing recognition that any technology introduced must build
on what farmers currently do and why they do it, as well as the agroecological
and socioeconomic constraints these farmers face. Also, no one discipline can
solve the production problems of small farmers. Any proposed solution must be
tested on farmers' fields, under farmers' conditions, using farmers' criteria
of evaluation -- in combination with the standard agronomic and economic
analyses of results. This farming-systems approach to rural development has
served to shift the focus in technical assistance from "pushing technology" to
responding to farmers' needs (Flora 1988).
Institutional Factors: Decline, Disarray, and the Economy of Affection
A quote from Carl Eicher at the beginning of this paper bemoans the
present stage of political and institutional maturity in Africa and compares
the continent unfavorably with Africa and Asia, while emphasizing that critics
and those concerned about the future of Africa must always bear in mind the
very different colonial heritages of the three continents. Among the more
salient differences are the following (Eicher 1988:4-6):
At independence African states had an extremely small pool of
trained scientists and managers relative to that of Asia and Latin
The first university in Nigeria, the University of Ibadan, was
established in 1948, whereas the first three Indian universities -
Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta -- were created almost a century
earlier, in 1857.
Many African universities and national research services are weaker
today than they were at independence.
A recent review of the principal types of institution that support
agricultural development in Africa -- credit, research and extension, and
input supply and product marketing -- characterized the present institutional
landscape as one of decline and disarray. This situation results from several
factors: first, the endemic issue of recurrent costs and the lack of resources
to support expensive institutional models; second, the colonial hand-me-downs
that are inappropriate for independent nation states; and third, the donor
propensity to bypass the existing structure and establish semiautonomous
institutions that die a natural death when external funding stops (Wilcock et
al. 1988, Vol.1:80-81).
A case in point is the West African Sahel where, during the 25 years
since independence, most of the Francophone states adopted a common set of
rural development institutions to provide inputs, technology, and marketing
services to farmers and food supplies to the cities (Berg 1986:10-12):
A cooperative movement at the village level, which was responsible
for local input supply, credit administration, and the first-level
marketing of food and export crops;
Input supply agencies and special credit institutions -- Caisse
National de Credit Agricole (CNCAs) or rural development banks --
both operating on a highly subsidized basis;
Regional development organizations -- Rgions de Dveloppement
Agricole (RDAs) in Senegal, Organismes Rgionale de Dveloppement
(ORDs) in Burkina, Oprations in Mali, and Productivity Projects in
Mali -- which were administratively responsible for the
coordination of all these programs and the provision of extension
National crop-marketing agencies and foodcrop boards, which were
given --in theory at least -- monopoly control over marketing,
buttressed by absolute price controls.
Many of the institutions involved have gone bankrupt, have been
reorganized or rehabilitated, or had the range of their activities sharply
reduced. One tendency has been to try and reorganize these institutions,
refocus their objectives, and improve their formal management. The Berg view
is that neither of these approaches is likely to produce viable improvements,
since many of the fundamental problems of the economic and political
environment, particularly the lack of market oriented policies, that made them
work poorly in the past are still there (Berg 1986:18).
A more sociological explanation for the state of institutional disarray
is provided by Hyden (1986). In his view, most African farmers enjoy a
relatively high degree of autonomy from other groups and institutions, a
consequence of rudimentary production technologies, on the one hand, and
relatively little product specialization, on the other. As a result, there is
only a limited exchange of goods between various units of production and no
structural interdependence that brings them into reciprocal economic
relations. To the independent producer, then, the state is structurally
superfluous since it has little to offer (Hyden 1986:56).
The networks of support, communication, and interaction among different
African groups connected by blood, kinship, community, or religion constitute
what Hyden terms the "economy of affection," premised on the existence of
opportunities for development, both economic and social. In practical terms,
this means that:
Urban-rural remittances, referred to earlier, often provide the
basis for survival strategies of the rural poor;
Public funds are diverted for purposes more in keeping with the
economy of affection; and
Problems of financial management originate in the emphasis of the
politics of affection on channelling public funds to local
constituencies, irrespective of considerations of efficiency and
Leonard (1987) observes that these latter problems of social obligations
operate as well among the elite managers of state organizations.
Local Organizational Factors: Participation and Empowerment
There is a growing consensus that local organizations have a key role to
play in achieving sustainable development. The participation rhetoric of the
1970s has been replaced by the more realistic agenda of local "empowerment."
There are several good reasons why such organizations should be supported,
since they can (Cernea 1987; Esman and Uphoff 1984; Gow et al. 1979; Honadle
and VanSant 1985):
Identify and adapt development activities to local conditions;
Mobilize local resources;
- 33 -
Coordinate and spread both the resources and benefits of outside
Manage the natural resource base and maintain infrastructure
investments in a rational manner through education and training,
and by enforcing rules, incentives, and penalties;
Empower local people by exercising influence and asserting claims
on local administrators, development bureaucrats, donors, and
Maintain and foster linkages between urban migrants and their
communities of origin; and
Sustain project benefits.
A recent study of 25 agricultural and rural development projects funded
by the World Bank showed that 12 of the 25 projects appeared to have
successfully achieved long-term sustainability. A large contribution came
from local organizations that were characterized by: participation in project
decision making, a high degree of autonomy and self-reliance, accountability
of leaders, and continuing identification of the project activities with local
needs (Cernea 1987).
Of increasing interest and importance are the nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs), which undertake a variety of activities ranging from
relief work to economic development, usually at the local level. Various
arguments are presented to justify this bypassing of regular institutional
structures. Among the more important are the following (Barclay et al.
1979:72-75; Cernea 1988; Hyden 1983:120-121; Tendler 1982:1-10):
NGOs are much closer to the poor than the government is.
NGO staff members are usually committed, highly motivated, and
altruistic in their behavior.
NGOs operate economically, partly because they are small and partly
because they have a much greater cost consciousness and financial
NGOs are flexible, innovative, and experimental -- qualities that
stem from their small size and the decentralized nature of their
NGOs are independent and this gives them the opportunity to develop
demands for public services and resources, thereby facilitating the
work of individual government institutions in rural areas.
- 34 -
Generally speaking, local organizations have not lived up to expectations
and have suffered from several key "vulnerabilities." Among the more
important are active resistance to their formation from various sources;
falling under the control of powerful outsiders; succumbing to factionalism
and internal politics; lack of expertise in the necessary political,
organizational, and technical skills; and corruption and betrayal by
organizational leaders (Esman and Uphoff 1984:181-202). In addition, active
resistance by political and administrative leaders to the creation of viable
local organizations often centers on empowerment of local communities (Thomas
Human Factors: Humility in the Face of Complexity
Much attention is given to the lack of trained personnel in Africa.
According to a recent study, most African countries have only a small cadre of
trained and capable people, who are often severely overextended. Donors often
require host governments to make unrealistic commitments of personnel as a
precondition for development assistance. Once a program is underway, the
government's inability to fulfill these promises manifests itself through:
Shortages of trained personnel;
Delays in appointing personnel;
Appointment of junior personnel; or
Ineffective use of appointed personnel.
The proposed remedies cover the spectrum from advocating more training to
using more expatriate advisers (Gow and Morss 1988).
But such solutions often reflect the biases of those who provide the
funding and those who may be trained as a result, rather than the realistic
needs and options of the countries in question. Robert Chambers has
succinctly summarized these biases under three broad headings (Chambers
Biases of Contact: The only contact that most outsiders have with
the rural poor is through development tourism, the brief and
hurried rural visit from the urban center, which imposes six biases
against direct contact: spatial -- close to an urban center,
tarmac roads, and villages; project -- toward places where there
are projects and some physical improvements to be seen; person --
toward those who are better off, articulate, healthy, male, users
of services, and adopters of practices; seasonal -- avoiding the
very hot, the very wet, and the very dry periods of the year;
diplomatic -- not seeking out the poor for fear of giving offense
or becoming tongue tied; and professional -- restricted to the
outsider's area of expertise.
Biases of Values: Outsiders are conditioned to believe that all
learning comes from the classroom, the textbook, the training
course, or the university. Rural people, especially the poor, are
regarded as ignorant -- even though they are the greatest experts
on their problems, strategies, and priorities. As a result,
whatever is described as modern, sophisticated, and scientific is
to be preferred.
Lags in Learning: The rates of change in SSA are rapid. Where the
population doubles in less than 20 years, people can be seriously
misled when reading a report or article written two or three years
earlier, based on field work done two or three before that, and
citing secondary data that are even older (Lipner and Gilles 1988).
Thinking similarly lags.
Overcoming these professional biases calls for a radical reordering of
our thinking, perceptions, and priorities -- to be discussed later in this
paper. It also calls for a little humility -- a frank confession that there
is a lot we have to learn, know, and understand. From Chambers' perspective,
the priorities of the rural poor in SSA, allowing for considerable local and
regional variation, are most likely to include survival, defined earlier as
health and livelihood, and basic goods and services.
WHAT THE EVIDENCE SAYS: VIEWS FROM THE FIELD
In this section, I shall briefly describe some recent rural development
experiences in Zaire, Congo, and Mali, including experiences with small-scale
rural industry. I shall draw on my own experience in Zaire, as well as other
Zaire: Project North Shaba
In the mid-1970s the Government of Zaire, with the assistance of AID,
designed a large integrated rural development project in the Shaba region, in
the southwestern part of the country, which came to be known as Project North
Shaba (PNS). The tangible objectives of PNS included an increase in overall
corn production, as well as an improvement in the general well-being of the
local population. There was a ready market for increased production in the
copper mines to the south, primarily state controlled, where miners were paid
partially in kind through the provision of corn flour, the household staple,
at highly subsidized prices.
These objectives were to be achieved through the implementation of an
integrated approach to overcoming the key constraints to development in the
area, constraints that had been identified as lack of roads, lack of markets,
and lack of improved technology. Implementation began in 1977 and the project
was redesigned in 1983 to focus on building and maintaining feeder roads;
distributing improved, open-pollinated seed corn; and introducing improved
practices for corn cultivation. AID support terminated in 1986 (Gow 1988b).
- 36 -
Some specific indicators of accomplishments during the first
of the project are presented in the table below (Rosenthal et al.
INDICATORS OF PNS SUCCESS, 1977-1984
Indicators Goal Set Accomplished Percent
in 1976 by 1984 Difference
Production of small tools 8,163 33,525 400
Improve/repair culverts 72 119 165
Improve/repair roads 724 km 732 km 101
Establish farmer groups 40 38 95
Establish farm centers 75 60 80
Reach farm households 19,000 14,445 76
Corn production 40,000 MT 96,000 MT 240
Corn market 25,000 MT 35,000 MT 140
The most reliable data on project impact relate to the quantities of corn
marketed. Almost all the corn that is not consumed in the project area is
shipped out through two railheads and PNS was able to develop an effective
system for monitoring these shipments. Production is estimated to have
increased from 30,000 metric tons in 1977/78 to just under 100,000 metric tons
in 1985/86. During this same period, the quantity of maize exported by rail
increased from 11,000 metric tons to 50,000 metric tons. This amounts to
almost half the corn marketed in Shaba (Poulin et al. 1987).
According to the final PNS impact evaluation, the increased corn
production during the early years of the project was due primarily to the
improved market in southern Shaba and new government policies in support of
domestic corn production -- notably import control and higher producer prices
(Poulin et al. 1987). Improved roads and the distribution of improved seed
played a secondary role, which only changed in 1982 when project interventions
made possible the continued increase in production and marketing (Blakely
Today, all who live in northern Shaba -- small farmers, merchants large
and small, community leaders, other area residents -- point to the bridge
and road rehabilitation efforts of Project North Shaba as one tangible
aid to agriculture. Such infrastructure inputs are lauded for the actual
routes of access opened and improved, as well as for the construction
teams' visible activity throughout the area: they engender hope that
other development assistance and further increased commerce will follow.
The improved roads encouraged traders to enter areas that were previously
inaccessible. Both merchants and farmers attribute the increase in quantities
of corn marketed to the improved roads. Farmers living some distance from
improved roads cite the problems of transportation as the main constraint to
Cash incomes from corn vary greatly within the project area. In the
less-densely populated zone, where farmers practice large-scale slash-and-burn
and where corn was already cultivated as a cash crop, the income from corn per
farm household in 1986 prices increased from $110 in 1978 to $235 in 1986, an
increase of 114 percent over eight years. In contrast, in the more-densely
populated zone, where farmers traditionally grew corn to satisfy subsistence
needs, income per household from corn increased from almost nothing in 1978 to
$42 in 1986. In addition, domestic consumption of corn in the form of bukari
-- a boiled flour preparation -- appears to have tripled.
These changes, however, are not large in terms of total income generated.
In 1985/86, the total value of corn marketed by farmers in North Shaba was
$1.9 million, approximately $80 per farm household. The resulting increases
in commercial activity, although significant in relative terms, have been
correspondingly small. Most of the farmers spend their increased incomes on
basic consumer goods such as soap, clothing, medicines, and foodstuffs. Some
of the larger farmers have also started buying minor luxury goods and consumer
durables such as radios, bicycles, cosmetics, kerosene lamps, and better-
In terms of social services, more children are going to school, and there
are more pharmacies, but there has been almost no social or institutional
development as a result of the project. The level of economic activity, both
per household and in the aggregate, is not yet large enough to support this
type of change.
Underlying the PNS approach was an implicit model of agricultural
development in which increased production leads in turn to greater commercial
activity, increasing urban commercial development, and ultimately fundamental
social or organizational change. Such change, however, is not inevitable
(Appleby 1988). The final impact evaluation developed two hypotheses. The
first proposed that increased corn marketing over time would give rise to
greater urban commercial development throughout the region. This proved to be
correct. Where before there had been only two centers along the rail line
that shipped produce out of the region, there are now several new centers on
the main highway that are also involved.
The second hypothesis -- that commercial development would be most
intense in the area that had the greatest corn production -- did not hold.
The area in question had a lower population density, a simpler form of
agriculture, and fewer roads rehabilitated by the project. In short, the
three factors considered basic for commercial development in central-place
theory -- population density, income, and transport efficiency -- were all
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Opportunities for Sustained Development in the Sahel
This case study formed part of a larger study financed by AID to address
an important aspect of development sustainability -- natural resource
management (NRM) in the Sahel (Shaikh et al. 1988). The report focused on
many on-farm agricultural production practices that show promise for
sustainable agricultural growth in Mali, Niger, Gambia, and Senegal. The
emphasis was on what works and a total of 70 successful NRM initiatives --
many small-scale and localized -- were visited.
The most important conclusion to emerge from this study is that
interventions have the greatest effect when they resolve problems of the local
population -- rather than problems of the environment per se (Shailh et al.
The basic concerns of rural Sahelian populations center around achieving
at least a stable and, hopefully, improving standard of living. This in
turn has historically depended on the status of the principal rural
production systems: agriculture, livestock, fishing. Precisely because
environmental degradation now visibly threatens these production systems,
populations have turned to natural resources management to accomplish two
things, both of which directly affect their income: first, to protect the
soil and water resources on which their production depends (e.g. the full
range of soil and water conservation, soil fertility improvement and
related measures) and second, to provide new opportunities for income
(pole production, orchards and gardens, firewood and fooder sales, etc.)
to compensate for declining and uncertain yields in customary productive
Among the specific conclusions drawn in the analysis, the following are
the more salient (Shaikh et al. 1988, Vol.1:47-48):
Values, Interest, and Knowledge: Information transfer should
harmonize with local experience and knowledge because there is local
interest in stabilizing productivity and improving natural resource
Conflict Resolution: This is an important but neglected aspect of
natural resource management and one element, the resolution of land
tenure issues, is critical for success.
Initiatives and Techniques: First, use adaptable technologies that
build on traditional practices to increase the chances of success and
technologies that can be taught by one farmer to another; second, NRM
activities that increase productivity may stabilize the rural
population and lead to investments in more intensive forms of
resource use; third, ensure that programs have time horizons that
increase proportionally with the novelty of the proposed technical
innovations; fourth, involve farmers in the design, implementation,
management, and evaluation of the program; and, finally, coordinate
program activities with existing government activities.
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Rural-Urban Linkages: Rural Nonfarm Enterprises
One of the key components in strengthening the linkages between rural
areas and market towns is the establishment and growth of small-scale
enterprises to satisfy the demand for goods and services stimulated by
increased agricultural productivity. A recent review of small-scale industry
in SSA indicates that most small industries are located in rural areas and
form a significant, if not dominant, component of the industrial sectors of
most African countries (Liedholm and Mead 1986).
Clothing production (primarily tailoring) predominates in most countries,
ranging from 25 percent of all establishments in rural Burkina Faso to 52
percent in Nigeria. Wood production (primarily furniture making) is next,
followed by metal working (usually blacksmithing), and food production
(primarily baking). Vehicle, shoe, electrical, and bicycle repair are also
frequently found. In rural areas of several countries, such as Rwanda,
Botswana, and Burkina Faso, the brewing of beer is a dominant activity, which
is usually undertaken by women. In general, small-scale firms are involved in
the production of light consumer goods -- clothing, furniture, simple tools,
and food and beverages.
Earlier in this paper, referring to the work of Eicher (1988) and
Johnston (1986), the argument was made that a small-farmer development
strategy can generate rapid, equitable, and geographically dispersed growth
because of substantial, labor-intensive linkages with the rural nonfarm
economy. The evidence to substantiate this claim has been drawn primarily
from Asia, particularly India, Pakistan, Taiwan, and the Philippines. A 1987
World Bank study attempted to consolidate the empirical evidence necessary for
assessing the power of agricultural- growth linkages in Africa. Data from 16
countries were analyzed, including data from 11 countries in West Africa.
Several important themes for policy recommendations emerged, four of which are
of direct relevance (Haggblade et al. 1987:150-160).
First, agriculture is of particular importance and will be the engine of
rural growth and consumption linkages. Second, the available data indicate
that services and commercial enterprises, rather than manufacturing, will grow
fastest. Some manufacturing activities, however, will grow as well --
particularly tailoring, carpentry, metal work, and food processing and
preparation. Third, rural towns emerge as focal points in the development of
the rural nonfarm economy. By providing catchment areas sufficient to support
minimum profitable scales of operation, rural towns offer firms the potential
to exploit economies of scale and scope.
Fourth, infrastructure will be necessary for rural nonfarm enterprise and
rural town growth, although the precise sequencing and complimentarity among
infrastructural inputs remains elusive. There is some agreement on the
cardinal importance of ground transportation, particularly roads and
railroads, but beyond that there is little agreement. The spotty record of
rural electrification is but one example (Fluitman 1983). Closely related is
institutional infrastructure, specifically the availability of efficient rural
financial markets. This may require integration of the existing informal
credit markets with the formal banking system. Work with credit unions and
rural savings banks -- often based on rotating and socially regulated capital
transfer mechanisms that are centuries old -- may achieve this.
LESSONS LEARNED: PEOPLE, PLACES, AND PRIORITIES
The wheel turns full circle and many of the constraints identified
earlier continue to reappear with distressing regularity in more recent,
ongoing experiences. There is general agreement that agriculture is the motor
to prime and stimulate development in Africa -- both rural and urban. There
also seems to be a growing consensus regarding the key elements necessary to
stimulate and sustain this process, particularly the following: creating a
favorable economic environment, increasing human capability and managerial
skills, generating new and appropriate technology, establishing and
strengthening rural institutions, and stimulating investments in rural
infrastructure (Eicher 1988; Johnston 1986).
Rather than conclude by reiterating what is well-known, let me offer a
somewhat different way of viewing development, which can perhaps provide some
insight for those who work on either the rural or the urban end of the
development continuum. From my perspective, there are five interrelated
components -- all of a social, political, or managerial nature -- that can
contribute toward achieving the goal of sustainable development. These are:
Development redefined -- sustainable livelihoods;
Learning from experience;
Local empowerment; and
A new professionalism.
Development Redefined: Sustainable Livelihoods
Much of the evidence indicates that many of the developmental objectives
that donors and national governments would like to achieve will remain
unattainable until the majority of the population enjoys a degree of
livelihood security. This is not a reiteration of a basic needs approach, but
is a focus on the development of the productive base to not only satisfy basic
needs but also serve as a springboard for the future. The study of NRM in the
Sahel clearly made this point -- that improving human well-being directly
depends on the state of the natural resource base. Because it is declining,
rural people are not only committed to protecting and stabilizing it, but also
- 41 -
to seeking out additional ways in which the resources can be used
productively. Recent data indicate that for all of Africa, 65 percent of the
rural population and 32 percent of the urban population live in absolute
poverty. The figures for West Africa are 42 and 27 percent, respectively
(Mureithi 1987). An approach that emphasizes sustainable livelihoods seeks to
create and maintain conditions in which poor people become less poor and see
benefits for themselves in sustainable development.
In practice, such an approach will obviously vary from environment to
environment, but common elements may include the following (Chambers 1987b):
Secure rights of ownership and usufruct of assets, including sale and
Transform small-scale tenancy and sharecropping into inheritable
rights to land.
Allocate degraded forestland to poor households for growing trees
and, where appropriate, for growing crops and raising livestock.
Reinforce livelihood strategies by supporting diversification,
including nonagricultural activities.
If rural growth is to be achieved, there must ultimately be a commitment
on the part of both the donor community and the national governments. This
calls for more than effective policy dialogue leading to significant policy
changes. Resources must be made available to implement these changes, which
will not occur without some commitment from politicians, civil servants, and
those responsible for implementing the changes on the ground.
This entails not only a commitment to providing the necessary resources,
both human and financial, but also a commitment to policies that will support
sustainable development. Thus, commitment to policies that address
environmental problems can have a significant impact on sustainable
development, such as increased attention to land-use planning, soil
conservation, reforestation, and equity issues.
The concept of commitment is not widely discussed within the development
community because, first, commitment is subjective and therefore difficult to
analyze. There is no accepted means of measuring or building commitment, and
testing its intensity requires political sophistication and understanding
(Heaver and Israel 1986). Second, commitment is not often associated with
government ministries, regional and local governments, academic institutions,
consulting companies, and other entities involved in development. As
mentioned earlier, strong commitment to goals, particularly to their ethical
content, is more often associated with NGOs and is often cited as one of their
comparative advantages. Research indicates that a number of humanitarian and
- 42 -
church-affiliated NGOs have invested considerable effort in instilling in
affiliates in the Third World a commitment to development goals (White 1986).
Increasing evidence suggests that such institutional commitment is
unlikely to materialize unless there is strong leadership at the program or
project level. A recent evaluation of six agricultural and rural development
projects in Africa concluded that strong leadership was a necessary condition
for successful project management, and that other factors could not compensate
for weak leadership (Honadle 1986). According to Leonard (1987), the most
important requirement of a good leader is a strong, personal commitment to
program goals. This commitment can result from professional education, and
from personal values that are inspired by one's early family experiences and
supported by one's contemporary environment. This commitment may also be
reinforced by the moral demands of the economy of affection.
But such commitment should also be pervasive. Not only should donors
feel commitment but so should those who hope to benefit from development
interventions. Such commitment, although it is not directly political, often
takes the form of a commitment of labor or resources. But such commitment can
be strengthened by more active involvement in planning and implementation.
One way this can be achieved is through "action-planning workshops" that
involve planners, implementers, and beneficiaries (Silverman et al. 1986).
Learning from Experience
One of the more exciting aspects of recent work in Third World
development has been the increasing acceptance that development is a process
of change that is often unpredictable, that programs are designed and
implemented on the basis of limited information -- on the understanding that,
as new information is provided, strategy and goals will be changed
accordingly. This calls for an admission on the part of "experts" such as
ourselves that we do not know everything and, furthermore, that we are
prepared to learn not only from what works well but also from our mistakes.
But most importantly, this model asserts that development involves personal
transformation that can take place, only if individuals themselves are
intimately part of the process -- that is, if they shape it and are
transformed by it (White 1987:160).
Much of the credit for applying this approach to Third World development
belongs to David Korten who built on the pragmatic approach followed by the
American philosopher Thomas Dewey -- that all valid knowledge comes from
experience, by which he meant the interaction between people and their
immediate environment. Through experience, people come not only to understand
the world but also to transform it (Dewey 1950:89):
The plans which are formed, the principles which man projects as guides
of reconstructive action, are not dogmas. They are hypotheses to be
worked out in practice, and to be rejected, corrected, and expanded as
they fail or succeed in giving our present experience the guidance it
- 43 -
Korten (1984) studied three successful development programs in Asia.
Each of these programs emerged out of a long-term learning process in which
the local population and program personnel shared their knowledge and
resources to integrate needs, actions, and the capacities of the assisting
organizations. In each instance, the overall process could be accomplished in
three stages, each with its own learning requirements: first, learning to be
effective; second, learning to be efficient; and, finally, learning to expand.
To a limited extent, this pragmatic approach was followed in PNS when,
after six years of implementation, the project was simplified to focus on the
key components of feeder roads, seed multiplication, and extension. Two
activities were nearly eliminated: the tool production component, because
demand was minimal; and the farmer group component, which was ineffective.
Although appealing, this approach has two major flaws: first, its
dependence on rationality, and, second, the difficulty of discovering error
(Friedmann 1987:217-218). How much error are we prepared to acknowledge?
People, and the institutions they work for, are not generally eager to
acknowledge error because there may be too much at stake -- prestige,
resources, reputation, authority, and credibility. But more important,
admission of error may imply that the values and commitment that led to them
were misplaced. How much uncertainty are we prepared to live with? Thomas
(1985) claims that all of us -- Third World professionals, development
consultants, and small farmers -- are emotionally and intellectually compelled
toward certainty, control, and anticipation.
The second flaw arises from the fact that it is not always clear when an
error has been committed or what the nature of the error is. Who identifies
the error and who decides how it will be resolved?
Not surprisingly, few attempts have succeeded in modifying the process
model to large development bureaucracies -- national, bilateral, or
multilateral. A more acceptable approach embraces some more-structured
elements and has been successfully implemented in various developmental
contexts. Certain conditions can facilitate this "structured flexibility" in
planning and implementation (Brinkerhoff and Ingle 1987):
Felt need and commitment to change, including a willingness to
allocate the resources necessary to implement a proposed solution;
Multilevel involvement within the project/institution and
participation of key beneficiaries;
Openness to learning -- the willingness to innovate and take risks in
search of results; and
Continuity of effort.
- 44 -
This social learning approach suggests four practical reasons for
involving the local population in management (White 1987:160-162). First,
because of the imperfect information base on which much developmental planning
and implementation is based, it is necessary to obtain more information from
local groups. Second, involving people directly creates a momentum for
changing government institutions and promoting learning. A third reason is to
increase the community's capacity to contribute to development. A fourth and
related reason is that the very act of involvement changes communities and
increases their capacity for effective action.
Much is made of the importance of such local empowerment, participation
with a harder, more realistic face. But empowerment should spread beyond and
include more than beneficiaries. The generation of power by communities and
beneficiaries is often viewed with misgivings, apprehension, and sometimes
outright fear by political and administrative leaders. Realistically,
effective demand making on the part of the poor is likely to continue to be an
elusive exception rather than a concrete reality -- unless empowerment is
broadened and becomes more encompassing.
In PNS, such participation got nowhere, partly because there was little
advantage in joining local organizations that conferred few advantages,
material or otherwise. But in addition, the project was hierarchically
structured, the internal mirroring the external. When it was proposed that
PNS be integrated with a parastatal cotton company run by Belgians, the PNS
director gave the Zairian cadre explicit instructions to keep their opinions
about the proposed integration to themselves: they were mere technicians and
such policy decisions would be made by their superiors in Kinshasa. When the
opportunity arose, these superiors could be equally high-handed. When the
Secretary of State for Agriculture came down for a flying visit, he was
scarcely out of the plane before he was bawling at the project director --
just to remind him who was in charge. Such a structure does little to
encourage participation and empowerment.
One way to address this problem is through decentralization, the
devolution of some decision-making authority and control over the management
of development initiatives and resources from the center toward the periphery.
Such a move can encourage staff participation that may, in turn, eventually
encourage beneficiary participation. Key objectives of this approach would
Increased exchange of information;
Better use of staff knowledge in planning; and
Opportunities for staff members to present and implement their own
- 45 -
Types of management development activities that support these
participatory staff objectives include team building, intergroup problem
solving, joint goal setting and planning, and various types of training.
A New Professionalism
The main problem confronting much of what I have outlined above is
resistance by professionals and specialists like ourselves, because it implies
a radical reordering of the conventional way of doing development, certainly
at the level of larger projects and programs. Various writers have called for
a "bureaucratic reorientation" whereby the bureaucracy would be focused on
the local population, rather than just doing things for them (Korten and
Chambers (1983;1986;1988) has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged the
development community to embrace what he terms a "new professionalism" --
those who are prepared to listen and learn from the local population; to cross
disciplinary boundaries; and to combine the best of the social sciences and
the natural sciences, vision and criticism from one, hard-nosed practical
solutions from the other. Mention was made earlier of the biases inherent in
conventional approaches to development, and the need for people to change --
not just beneficiaries, but also development professionals. The two case
studies presented -- the ADB agricultural study, PNS in Zaire, and the NRM
study in the Sahel -- cover a spectrum from normal to new professionalism.
In practical terms, this new professionalism incorporates much of what I
have discussed above in terms of redefining development, political commitment,
learning from experience, and local empowerment. But the most important
changes are those that need to occur in our ideas and our behavior: the
initiative must come from us as key actors in the development process. And
underlying this approach is, of course, an increasing level of respect among
the various people and institutions involved -- not only between projects and
beneficiaries but also between donors and national governments (Elmandjra
In conclusion, I sincerely believe, that Africa does not stand any
serious chance of developing economically and socially unless it stops
relying on aid and opts for a new development model based on self-help
and inter-African integration. It would thus not only develop but would
also enter a new age of dignified, efficient and enriching international
cooperation with no "receivers" and no "donors".
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Proceedings of the Seventh Agriculture Sector Symposium, edited by T.J.
Davis and A. Schirmer, pp. 371-382. Washington, DC: World Bank.
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Studies, edited by D. Lehmann, pp. 9-30. London,
UK: Frank Cass.
Shaikh, A. et al.
1988 Opportunities for Sustained Development: Successful Natural Resources
Management in the Sahel. 4 vols. Washington, DC: E/DI.
Silverman, J.M., M. Kettering, and T.D. Schmidt
1986 Action-Planning Workshops for Development Management. World Bank
Technical Paper No. 56. Washington, DC: World Bank.
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Spencer, D.S.C. and V.K. Nyateng
1987 "The Propects for Increased Rice Production in West Africa." Paper
presented at an IFPRI conference, Dakar, July 15-17.
1982 Turning Private Voluntary Organizations Into Development Agencies:
Questions for Evaluation. AID Program Evaluation Discussion Paper No.
12. Washington, DC: AID.
1985 "Reorienting Bureaucratic Performance: A Social Learning Approach to
Development Action." In Public Participation in Development Planning and
Management: Cases from Africa and Asia, edited by J-C. Garcia Zamor, pp.
13-30. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
1987 Dilemmas of Development: Reflections on the Counter-Revolution in
Development Theory and Policy. London, UK: Basil Blackwell.
1986 Local Institutional Development: An Analytical Sourcebook With Cases.
West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press.
1975 Amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Washington, DC:
Government Printing Office.
1983 "Coping with Frosts, Governments and Disaster Experts: Some Reflections
Based on a New Guinea Experience and a Perusal of the Relevant
Literature." In Interpretations of Calamity from the Viewpoint of Human
Ecology, edited by K. Hewitt, pp. 33-43. Winchester, MA: Allen and
1988 WARDA: Strategic Plan. 1990-2000. Monrovia, Liberia: WARDA.
1986 "Urban Community Organizations and Local Government: Exploring
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Programs. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Wilcock, D.C. et al.
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- 54 -
THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MARKET TOWNS AND AGRICULTURAL
DEVELOPMENT IN THE NEW AGRICULTURAL POLICY IN SENEGAL
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH PROJECT
For the past two decades or more, Sub-Saharian Africa has been hit by an
economic crisis. The main features of which are chronic deficit in the
balance of payments and public finances, declining agricultural productivity
and growing food insecurity. In Senegal, for example, the agricultural sector
accounted for 24% of the G.D.P. in 1960 as compared to 21% in 1980 (MARTIN,
1986). Rice and wheat imports during the same period rose annually at 6.6%
and 8%, respectively, in the Sahel region and it is feared the region may
have to import most of its grain requirements in the near future (Delgado
Structural adjustment programs are presented as plans for improving
public finances by abolishing para-statals and stimulating agricultural
production through incentive prices and greater involvement of the private
sector in the agricultural system chain. Directly or indirectly, these
programs have brought into play the rural/urban competition to the marked
detriment of the towns.
And yet, the economic crisis has affected the towns as gravely as
villages so that there is an increasingly strident demand for adjustment with
a "human face". In order to ensure the chances of sustaining and maintaining
development in a country, the economic and social linkages between rural and
urban development must be strengthened, even when the agricultural sector is
given priority. The subject for discussion today is the consideration of the
role that market towns can and do play in agricultural policies that have been
adopted as part of structural adjustment for a harmonious development of towns
and rural areas. Most of the examples are culled from research conducted in
Senegal but can easily be applied to other countries of the sub-region.
Our presentation will comprise a brief review of an agricultural
development model based on the growth of market towns, a description of the
agricultural produce marketing network, a discussion of the inter-
relationships between market towns and rural areas in the context of the new
agricultural policies, and a few recommendations.
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MARKET TOWNS AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL
The model of agricultural development based on urban and industrial
expansion assumes the effective integration of markets for agricultural
products and inputs as well as goods and services. Increases in population
and revenues which accompany the development of urban centres stimulate
effective demand for agricultural products for human consumption and industry.
Conversely, urban industries supply producers with the inputs necessary for
increased agricultural productivity stimulated by urban demand. The
establishment of a dynamic non-agricultural labour market due to the growth of
towns can help to absorb much of the agricultural labourers who have been made
redundant because of increased productivity.
Agricultural development in the United States of America and in some
countries in Latin America and Asia has been explained, at some point in their
history, by the so-called Von Thunen urban development model (Rutton, 1984).
However, for the model to have similar effects in the countries that are
embarking on their development, several difficulties must be overcome.
The process is stalled when towns experience unchecked population growth
due to massive inflows of immigrants from rural areas at rates which outstrip
the creation of employment opportunities in market towns. Such rural
immigration could even create a shortage of agricultural man-power, if not all
the time, at least at the most critical periods of the cropping calender, as
is the case in the irrigated areas of the middle Senegal valley (Diemer and
Van der Laan, 1987).
Effective urban consumer demand for local agricultural produce is often
very small despite the expanding population. The reason for this situation is
either the price of local products is higher than that of imported goods, or
the constraints of urban living or food preferences have given urban consumers
a taste for imported products, or the availability of large quantities of food
aid, or a combination of the above. Whatever the reason, massive imports of
food products essentially for consumption in the towns impedes rural/urban
interaction. As an example, an average of about 65% of the rice imported into
Senegal (1980 1988) is sold in Dakarl where only 22% of the country's total
Agricultural production technology is still relatively archaic and the
minute effective demand for modern inputs do not encourage the establishment
of local input manufacturing. With low productivity and income, there is
little stimulus for the development of goods and services in the market towns.
Moreover, there is no dynamic non-agricultural labour force to increase
productivity and earnings in the rural areas.
1/ Part of the amounts sold in Dakar are moved to the hinterland by traders,
but the amounts involved are small since regional centres are directly
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The new agricultural policies (N.A.P.) with the implied reform of the
marketing network must be geared towards resolving these problems if they are
to effectively contribute to economic and social advancement.
THE MARKETING NETWORK FOR AGRICULTURAL
PRODUCTS IN SENEGAL
An intimate knowledge of the operators, circuits and marketing costs as
well as of available infrastructure is essential for a well-conceived
agricultural and food policy.
There are urban or semi-urban markets that operate daily and periodic
rural markets. Generally, the large towns and cities have several markets
with at least one central retail market and one wholesale market on the
outskirts. The rural markets are collection points or wholesale centres but
quite often there is no clear distinction between the two. The "Souks" or
stalls (cantines) inside the markets are rented out by the rural or communal
authorities. The shops and kiosks at edge of the markets are owned by
individual traders. The use of scales and weighing machines is becoming
In Senegal, there has been notable development of markets in the
groundnut growing region (Bassin Arachidier) where 200 rural markets were
identified in 1984. The country's storage capacity in 1983 was estimated at
84,000 tons for the Commissariat la Scurit Alimentaire (Food Security Agency)
and almost 65,000 tons for wholesalers (Ndoye, 1984). Storage capacity
utilization rate is considered very low. In 1985, the number of haulage
trucks was 4,024 with a total payload of 53,792 tons. Of the 3,292 km of
roads, 1,839 km were tarred (Republic of Senegal, 1985). Senegal has one of
the best road networks in West Africa.
In recent years, Senegal has placed emphasis on telecommunications by
providing all its regional capitals and even towns of lesser importance with
telephones. Dakar, with 22% of the country's population and nearly 60% of the
urban population, is where the main industrial and financial capacity is
concentrated. Most of the food processing industries are located there and it
is the main port for imports and exports of the country.
THE OPERATORS OF THE MARKETING NETWORK
Although some producers, like the rice growers in the Casamance, are
almost exclusively subsistence farmers, most of them sell their food products
in the villages or at the rural markets in small lots, or in bags when they
are large producers. Increasingly in the Sahelian region, even farmers with
short falls in their yields sell part of their produce at the market even
though they may have to buy back the same product later. These operators have
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Individual middlemen include collectors, wholesalers and retailers. In
the rural markets in Senegal, collectors buy directly from the farmer in lots
of 3 to 15 kg. With their limited resources, they can buy only 2 to 4 bags in
any one day, and in fact many of them are commissioned agents for wholesalers.
Often farmers double as collectors, thus taking advantage of the dry season to
branch out into trading. However, they return to their farming occupations
during the rainy season. Still other collectors turn retailers when supplies
from producers dry up.
Wholesalers operate both in the rural areas and in market towns. The
volume of their transactions vary between a few tons to tens of tons, i.e.
enough to fill a 10 to 20 ton truck. As a general rule, wholesalers do not
specialize in a single product trade, or even in agricultural products alone.
Many in the rural areas still consider themselves as farmers, and in the towns
as in the villages, many of them sell a variety of products. Furthermore, it
is often difficult to separate wholesalers from wholesalers/ retailers
because, they do not hesitate to sell at retail when given the opportunity to
A few wholesalers own trucks for hauling their own products: however,
transport of agricultural produce is provided mainly by carriers who rent
trucks out on charter or charge fixed rates for transport. The retailers
come from different walks of life. Producers, especially women, and
collectors are seen in the rural markets during the intervening period between
sweeping seasons. These women also sell semi-processed products and go into
micro-retail. However, market town retailers tend to ply their trade
throughout the year in shops or in stalls. In Senegal, moorish imported rice
retailers are a familiar sight throughout the country.
Public institutions are still more or less actively involved in marketing
agricultural and food products in the countries of the sub-region. In
Senegal, the SONACOS (the Senegalese Oil Seeds Marketing Board) is responsible
for marketing groundnuts and has, since 1986, allowed private sector
involvement, especially village co-operatives, in the initial collection of
products on its behalf. The marketing of cotton is entirely in the hands of
the State. Senegal, however, is considering the withdrawal of marketing and
processing monopoly for locally produced rice from state enterprises. The
Food Security Agency purchases local grain (millet, maize and sorghum) and
cowpeas in order to stabilize prices and build up reserve stocks.
Rural consumers include farmers whose production does not cover their
family's needs. Surveys conducted in Senegal indicate that these farmers also
depend on income from relatives who have emigrated abroad or to towns.
Hence, income earned from urban employment contributes to the upkeep of
rural populations. Studies conducted in towns point to the tendency of the
poorest urban population to consume large quantities of imported products such
as rice and bread that are considered as luxury items (Reardon et al., 1987).
The typical urban or rural consumer of the past is fast disappearing.
The circuits in which the activities of these actors take place vary
considerably. Mention has already been made of local rice being grown for home
consumption in the Casamance. However, Senegalese consumers now obtain their
agricultural and food products with increasing frequency from the markets.
Locally produced food grains are collected at the rural markets and sold to
wholesalers who then transport them to regional urban centres and to Dakar in
trucks supplied by truck owners. Private sector involvement in the collection
of products on behalf of public organizations has gone a long way in changing
ideas of differentiation between public and private sector circuits.
Broken rice is always imported by a public institution and sold to
wholesalers in Dakar and in all the regional centres. A public distribution
network supplies consumers with food products and other consumer items.
However, clandestine trade with neighboring countries must not be overlooked.
In Senegal, "Gambian" rice is sold on the markets of adjacent regions and the
quantities involved are said to be large.
Traders use very simple rules for determining the cost of their
activities. Transport costs, for example, are not calculated on the basis of
ton/km cost but rather on kg per given radius and type of road. Storage costs
for a few days at weekly markets is 25 F CFA per bag. Handling cost is
charged whenever a bag is lifted and taken to another spot. The cost of
weighing by scales is 25 F CFA at urban markets and 50 F CFA per bag at the
weekly markets (Ouedraogo and Ndoye, 1988a).
In Senegal, collectors cover their costs through a gross margin of 5 F
CFA/kg rather than through a relative price/kg margin. The margin covers in
particular the return trip to the weekly village market; renting of scales by
majority of collectors who do not own scales; market levies; the cost of bags
since in the groundnut growing regions, the collector pays for the bags when
he sells to wholesalers; weighing, and the wages of one or two helpers to
assist the farmer in packing the produce in bags and carrying them to the
scales for weighing.
Sometimes a wholesaler visits several markets before he can put together a
truckload of products. The cost of transporting agricultural produce from the
countryside to the towns give a measure of the high rates charged for
transport and handling in Senegal (Annexe I). Wholesalers pay very little for
storage because there are adequate storage facilities and rents are reasonable
(5,000 F CFA for a 10 20 ton facility in Kaolack) and there is a rapid stock
turnover. The actuarial2 of informal interest rates range between 13% to
2/ This is the interest rate that cancels out the net worth of amounts
involved in credit operation: the size of the credit, credit obtention
costs and reimbursement period.
- 59 -
120% with a weighted average of 39%. Hence, traders often complain of
liquidity shortage. Stock turnover goes some way in alleviating the
difficulty. Quick stock turnover works in favour of traders since it
constitutes a hedge against the vagaries of the market when food aid
distribution abruptly depress demand for their products. Quick turnover is
also useful to them because experience in the past three years has shown that
price increases in agricultural products within any one year is too small to
cover long-term storage costs. In the groundnut growing area for example, from
October/November to July/August, producer price differential ranged between a
minimum of 4.60 F CFA and a maximum of 19.50 F CFA/kg between 1985/86 and
High transport costs are often due to the relatively small market for the
transport merchandize. As trucks on their return journey are often empty,
users are required to pay for a return trip. Road construction is therefore
not the only sector that needs development. Transport of merchandize from the
towns to villages must be encouraged in order to reduce transport costs.
NEW AGRICULTURAL POLICIES AND THE INTERACTION
BETWEEN MARKET TOWNS AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
What is or could be the role of market towns in the context of the new
agricultural policies? These policies were often adopted to protect the
agricultural and rural sectors to the detriment of the industrial and urban
sectors even though interaction between the two is vital for the success of
such policies. In this section of the paper, we shall take a close look at
the constraints and the potential role of market towns in agricultural
development through the new agricultural policies adopted in Senegal,
especially the liberalization of agricultural markets price incentives,
increased involvement of the private sector compared to the public sector and
processing of locally produced products.
The Ground Rules
Rules governing trade in agricultural products in developing countries
were, in many instances, at the disadvantage of the middleman. Public
authorities regulated prices, margins, products movements and the type of
trader who can participate in marketing. Study findings show that such rules
constrain trade development and thereby the integration of towns and rural
This kind of regulation also impedes the supply of local products in the
markets while imported products such as rice are readily available even in
the smallest rural market. Thus, there is an artificial barrier to villages
supplying towns. The rules, therefore, compound the effects of poor
production and encourage the substitution of local products with imported ones
(Newman, Ndoye and Sow, 1985). With the introduction of the new agricultural
policies, traders claim that there has been an upsurge of product movements.
Although the impact of harvest yields should not be discounted in assessing
the situation, it would appear that trade liberalization has had a salutory
effect on rural areas supplying towns (Ouedraogo and Ndoye, 1987).
Today, individual middlemen are allowed to participate in the initial
collection of groundnuts, Senegal's main export crop. The participation of
these individuals, also called individual operators and stockers (OPS), is now
very much appreciated by the public authorities because the groundnuts
delivered by these OPSs contain much less waste than village cooperatives.
Although the OPS's believe that there is room for improvement in their
contract terms with the oil mill, this type of relationship enables
individuals to accumulate enough capital to buy greater quantities of
agricultural products to supply to towns.
Marketing regulations can therefore dislocate the market town development
and rural expansion interplay by depressing agricultural products supplies in
the towns. Similarly corrective measures of past errors have had a beneficial
impact on urban/rural economic relations.
The degree of protection given to the agricultural sector can be measured
through price incentives for agricultural products (and where necessary,
tariff reform and possibly devaluation). Policy decision-makers find pricing
policy difficult to devise because it can often have disconcerting impact on
production and consumption and it is not easy to implement.
Increasing production through price incentive stands little chance of
success unless other conditions for agricultural development are met (rural
infrastructure such as irrigation, research and extension, distribution
network for inputs and products). ISRA-conducted studies indicate that even
100% increase in local grain (millet, sorghum and rice) prices would increase
food self-sufficiency rate in Senegal by only 10%. (Martin, 1987). Maize is
said to be the only grain that responds favourably to price incentives,
unfortunately its sale is problematic since it has not yet become part of the
food preferences of the Senegalese people.
Price increases could have adverse effects on farmers with short-falls in
production and on the poor urban consumers who, because of urban living
conditions, are forced to consume imported products such as rice or bread.
Inasmuch as rural households are now increasingly dependent on income from
their emigrated relatives in the towns, consumer price increases in the towns
increases food budget of the population would tend to reduce remittances to
the villages and, indirectly, consumption of the rural populations.
Even if price incentives were to have the desired impact, their
application to locally produced grains such as millet and sorghum would still
create a problem. Most African countries have now adopted a minimum price
instead of a fixed producer price for local cereals. However studies indicate
that the current state structures are neither sophisticated enough nor do they
- 61 -
have the resources to adequately support a floor price that is applicable in
all regions and in all seasons. In Senegal for example, the Agricultural
Marketing Board (CSA) does not come in direct contact with farmers who
therefore do not benefit directly from incentive prices (Ouedraogo and Ndoye,
1987). The best the Agricultural Marketing Board can do is to base the
incentive price on prevailing prices, and buy from collectors in such a way as
to encourage competition among traders so that farmers may benefit from the
GREATER INVOLVEMENT OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT
The new agricultural policies tend to assume that private individuals are
quite ready to take over from ailing public agencies without any incentive or
preparation. The idea is based on the misconception that the marketing
network passively adjusts to any given economic condition. In 1985 private
individuals showed a marked interest in acquiring rice husking equipment and
in bulk purchases of rice from producers in the Senegal River Valley, but
consumer price increase outstripped producer price increase (Morris, 1988).
If areas such as liberalisation of profit margins and transport are much
appreciated by traders, there are other sectors in which the modalities of
private sector involvement have not yet been resolved.
The participation of the private sector in agricultural inputs
distribution affords an opportunity to develop relations between market towns,
where fertilizers could be manufactured and the rural areas. However such
participation is still fraught with problems in Senegal as in other countries.
There are four pre-requisites for effective participation of traders. (1)
Agricultural production technologies requiring for the use of modern inputs
must be available. (2) Traders must have access to loans or bank overdraft
facilities and, should it be a national policy to discourage traders giving
credit to farmers, then they too should have access to the same facilities.
(3) In order to enable them to recover their loans from farmers, traders must
be allowed to buy the farmer's production. (4) Private individuals must be
familiar with fertilizers so that they can advise and inform producers when
for example the latter are considering the non-application of recommended
doses. After all the usefulness of marketing lies not only in the timely
supply, appropriate quantities and at desired locations of given products but
also the ability of the seller to explain how a product is used. Fertilizer
distribution implies, more or less, extension in fertilizer use.
In 1987, Senegal began to promote private sector involvement in
commercial imports of rice, an activity that has in the past been in sole
hands of the Caisse de Prquation et de Stabilisation des Prix (Price Support
and Stabilization Board). Private individuals imported 75,000 tons out of the
25% of 300,000 tons allocated to them. The operation which was to be expanded
in the following year was suspended because of the difficulties facing private
importers in transporting the consignments in acceptable conditions.
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These two examples illustrate the difficulties of private sector
involvement in rural development that can be overcome through services
provided by market towns. The difficulties are also mostly in the area of
financial facilities (loans, overdrafts). They are due to lack of know-how of
individuals, even in the market towns, in situations where a great deal is
expected of them.
Studies conducted to date in Senegal on traders indicate that a wide
majority of them do not keep accounts. For all their experience, these
traders are incapable of drawing up annual balance sheets and operating
accounts to give the status of their undertakings. The only calculating tools
these traders have calculators and small notebooks in which they note down
quantities, sometimes prices, and very rarely overheads. More specifically
they are unable to properly compute the monthly cost of personnel services or
buildings or rented equipment.
In most countries of the sub-region most agricultural products traders
are illiterate taking as reference education levels in the French system.
However in Senegal many of these so-called illiterate people read and write
Wolofof, Wolof written in arabic characters. Functional literacy must be
geared towards both the farmers and the traders.
A 1987 survey carried out in the groundnut producing region indicate that
out of 114 traders, collectors and wholesalers, 74% did not have bank accounts
and only 14% have had bank accounts for more or less ten consecutive years.
The banking crisis has seriously affected Senegal and other countries with
staff lay-off's, closing of branches and the introduction of minimum balances
(BIAO Senegal, for example now requires a minimum monthly balance of 200,000
F CFA for current accounts). Yet increased private sector participation in
rural development calls for involvement in the national financial circuit,
especially the banks. Special non-banking credit institutions do not promote
the incorporation of private individuals into the country's banking system.
PRICE INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
Information is an essential factor in decision-making by operators of the
marketing network. Proper information sets the scene for healthy competition
among partners and improves the efficiency of the system. Dissemination of
information is potentially good for improving the flow of agricultural
products between villages and market towns.
In 1987 in Senegal the Food Security Agency started to collect producer
and consumer prices of local products such as millet, sorghum, maize and
cowpeas in some thirty rural and urban markets for broadcast on the Rural
Radio and publication in the national daily "Le Soleil". Preliminary findings
how the assessment of the information service show that better use must be
made of the service in order to make it more effective.
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More than half of the users (producers, traders and consumers) do not
always listen to the radio broadcast of prices. Prices published in "Le
Soleil" (with an estimated circulation of 18,000 or 30,000 depending on the
source of information) are addressed to a very small readership that have
little interest in millet and sorghum. Radio broadcast does not give price
levels and therefore many listeners misconstrue the information and it is not
surprising that they think these prices do not reflect market trends.
Producers, for example, might tend to think the broadcast prices were producer
prices. While traders would take them for wholesale prices. As a matter of
fact many users have not grasped the meaning of price information
dissemination and confuse them with officially fixed prices, that the
Government would have respected.
The results show a need for advertising the service so that it has an
impact on products movements throughout the country. The Marketing Board
should ensure that prices disseminated are reliable by choosing carefully
devised collection methods and checking the price before dissemination (refer
to Ouedraogo and Ndoye on this subject, 1988 b). The method of dissemination
must be upgraded to enable the majority of users to benefit from the service.
Consideration should also be given to publishing them in the national
PROCESSING OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Processing local agricultural products affords the Food Grain Plan (Plan
Cralier) the opportunity to determine more clearly the relationship between
urban processing industries and the expansion of grain production (Republique
du Senegal, 1986). In fact Senegal has a very active processing and food
technology industry as evidenced by attempts to introduce panibl (a composite
flour) in the 1970s. However a significant increase in the consumption of
local food grains in the towns will not be effected overnight.
Local millet, when processed, is now more expensive3 No than imported
rice sold at 130 F CFA/kg in Dakar. Housewives buying threshed millet at 90 F
CFA/kg to 100 F CFA/kg in Dakar have to spend another 20 F CFA/kg to 30 F
CFA/kg for manual hulling and as much for milling. "Sankhal", the rough
milled millet costs 300 F CFA/kg in grocery shops. Maize can be processed to
look like broken rice and for all intents and purposes tastes the same as
broken rice, but according to experts, processing costs are still very high.
Observations in Senegal point to at least three prerequisites for food
technology development. First, the cost of these technologies is as yet too
expensive so that prices of other products would have to be subsidized or
3/ The announcement made in May 1988 to reduce the price of rice from 160 F
CFA/kg to 130 F CFA/kg in Dakar let to a disproportionate reduction of
millet price in Dakar, thus making millet even less competitive compared to
rice. In terms of broken rice price, threshed millet increased in price by
*% and the price of hulled millet rose by an average of 12% during the May
November 1987 and May November 1988 periods, according to retail prices
published by USAID/Senegal.
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increased before new technologies could be adopted. Therefore less costly
technologies will have to be developed. Secondly, and this is related to the
first point, there must be an uninterrupted supply of the raw materials
(millet, maize, etc) in order to ensure that equipment operate at acceptable
capacity. Industries would have preferred to use, for example, locally
produced maize because of its higher flour content compared to that of
imported maize, but they have difficulties in getting private individuals to
respect delivery dates. Therefore they are resigned to imports. (Verbal
communications: Maize Project. FRG; SOMIVAC). Thirdly, the technologies
proposed to date are very rudimentary. Increasing maize consumption by
promoting broken maize restricts the possible uses of the product.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The new agricultural policies are generally designed in a context of
rural/urban antagonism in order to privilege the agricultural sector. It is
true that past policies failed to perceive the importance of agriculture in
the rural areas, and that agricultural development based on the Van Thunen
model has not lived up to expectations. It does not mean, however, that the
inter-relationship between market town development and rural expansion should
be overlooked. Market towns are still the best outlets for the intended
agricultural and rural production growth. These centres should also be
developed in order to enable them to supply the inputs and services required
for sustained agricultural development.
The new policies contain ideas for reactivating market town-village
interaction but their application should be improved. The best opportunities
for strengthening economic and social linkages between market towns and the
rural areas lie in the following fields:
Trading regulations for agricultural products should be designed to
promote the movement of products from the country side to towns.
Dissemination of price information would tend to facilitate product movement
from villages to towns. Upgrading the road network and increasing the number
of trucks in themselves are not sufficient to cut down transport costs;
conditions must be established for raising the volume of goods transported
from towns to villages to prevent paying for a return journey. Local food
product processing technologies must be efficient as well as innovative if the
end products are to compete with imported items. The involvement of the
private sector in these activities will not be automatic; often the traders do
not have the know-how, resources or capital to participate effectively in the
trading circuits that the new policies aim to develop.
Agricultural and economic and social research is vital. Agricultural
development, for all the price incentives and private sector involvement,
cannot be attained without generating improved production technologies
acceptable to producers. Adjustment policies constitute a process on which
the welfare, good or bad, of the entire population depends and on which the
survival of political regimes are hinged. There is an urgent need for
research on the motivation of operators and the impact of the various
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crales au Sahel", IFPRI, Washington.
Diemer, G. et E. Van der Laan (1987) L'irrigation au Sahel, Kharthala CTA,
Paris Martin, Fr6dric (1986). "La rforme de la politique cralire dans le
Sahel: le Senegal" Elliot Berg Associates, Alexandria, for OECD/CILSS
Martin, Fr6dric (1988), Food Security and Comparative Advantage in Senegal: A
Micro-Marco Approach, Ph.D. Thesis, Michigan State University.
Michael Morris (1987), "Cereal Marketing in the Senegal River Valley (1985)",
MSU International Development Papers Reprint 4.
Newman, Mark, 0. Ndoye et P.A. Sow (1985), "Crales locales et imports au
Senegal: la politique alimentaire partir des systmes de
commercialization", Docuement de Travail BAME 85-7
Ndoye, Ouesseynou (1984), "La filire cralire au Senegal: Cas du Bassin
Arachidier. Propositions de thmes de recherches sur la commercialization,
Mmoire de titularisation", ISRA/BAME, Dakar, Senegal.
Ouedraogo, Ismael et Ousseynou Ndoye (1986), "La diffusion de la nouvelle
politique agricole : note d'information attention des dcideurs", paper
present la consultation d'experts sur la politique des prix et
d'intervention sur les march agricoles en Afrique, organise par la FAO
Dakar, Senegal, 30 mars-3 avril 1987.
Oudraogo, Isma 1 et Ousesynou (1988a), "Les cots de commercialization dans le
Bassin Arachider", document present au sminaire sur la politiue agricole
organis par ISRA/MSU/USAID Dakar, Sngal, juillet 1988.
Oudraogo, Ismael et Ousseynou Ndoye (1988b), "Guide de collect de prix dans
les march ruraux en Afrique sub-saharienne: Leons tires du Senegal",
document present au sminaire sur la politique agricole organis par
ISRA/MSU/USAID Dakar, Sngal, juillet 1988.
Oudraogo, Ismael et collaborateurs (en course de publication, 1989),
"Evaluation du system d'information sur les prix agricoles du
Commissariat la Securit Alimentaire au Senegal", CSA/ISRA Dakar, S&negal.
Reardon, T.,C. Delgado and T. Thiombiano (1987) "The Demand for Imported
Cereals vs. Coarse Grain in Ouagadougou: Implication for Cereal price
policy", paper presented at the Conference on "Dynamics of Cereals
Consumption and production Patterns in West Africa" July 1987, Dakar,
Ruttan, V.W. (1984). "Models of Agricultural Development" in Eicher and Staaz
(eds) Agricultural Development in Third World, The John Hopkins
University Press, Baltimore.
- 66 -
Republique du Senegal, Ministre du dveloppement Rural (1986) Etude du secteur
agricole: Plan Cralier, Dakar, Senegal.
Republique du S&n6gal, Direction de sla Statistique (1985), Situation
Economique du Sen6gal: 1985, Dakar, Senegal
- 67 -
AVERAGE MILLET MARKETING COSTS
BORNE BY WHOLESALERS IN THE GROUNDNUT PRODUCING
AREA: PURCHASES AT WEEKLY MARKETS FOR WHOLESALE
TRANSACTIONS AT URBAN AND SEMI-URBAN CENTERS
CALCULATED SALES POINTS
DAKAR DIOURBEL KAFFRINE KAOLAC THIS TOUBA ZINGUINCHOR
GROSS MARGIN (F/KG) 11.36 8.63 7.50 6.62 9.15 8.80 10.80
HANDLING (F/KG) 1.22 1.40 1.10 .97 1.42 1.14 1.32
TRANSPORT (F/KG) 5.19 4.00 5.13 2.90 5.00 3.71 5.00
ROAD EXPENDITURES (F/KG)1.03 .10 .0 .66 .19 .09 .12
STORAGE (F/KG) .23 .25 .11 .60 .25 .22 .25
COST OF CAPITAL* (F/KG) .19 .09 .14 .60 .15 .08 .27
NET MARGIN (F/KG) 3.51 2.78 1.02 1.97 2.14 3.55 3.84
(% PURCHASE PRICE) 5.36 5.53 1.74 3.08 2.99 5.43 4.87
(KG) 12093 14060 8650 9829 16000 8150 13806
DISTANCE (KM) 281 159 71 46 206 134 211
DURATION OF THE
OPERATION (DAYS) 7 4 5 2 5 3 8
NO OF SALES OBSERVED 8 1 2 5 2 4 8
SOURCE: OUEDRAOGO AND NDOYE (1988a) ISRA
*at 15% annual interest rate.
- 68 -
Mr. Ismael Ouedraogo, I.S.R.A.
- 70 -
MARKET TOWNS AND RURAL GROWTH: BUILDING URBAN-RURAL LINKAGES
DENNIS A. RONDINELLI
RESEARCH TRIANGLE INSTITUTE
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NORTH CAROLINA, U.S.A.
Market towns and cities in Africa play crucial roles in agricultural
production, food distribution and marketing. They are likely to become even
more important over the next two decades as Africa goes through profound
changes of rapid urbanization and agricultural transformation. But
international assistance organizations have not fully recognized the crucial
roles that towns and cities play in agricultural and rural development. Nor
are government investments in urban services and infrastructure, or programs
for private sector expansion, designed to stimulate and strengthen the
economic and physical linkages between urban and rural areas.
The rapid urbanization now taking place in Africa will influence the
demand for food and the composition of agricultural production for the next
quarter of a century. African governments and international assistance
organizations must recognize five basic points if they are to adjust their
development policies and programs in the future:
1. Towns and cities in Africa structure the marketing network through
which agricultural commodities are collected, exchanged and redistributed.
Agricultural goods that are not retained for household consumption or traded
in rural periodic markets move through a complex network of public and private
enterprises in villages, market towns, secondary cities and metropolitan
2. Without this network of towns and cities, agricultural trade is
usually restricted to periodic markets in which subsistence farmers exchange
goods among themselves or with intermediaries. The incentives for increasing
production that come with the ability of farmers to market their goods
competitively is lost. In such circumstances, agriculture does not easily
expand beyond subsistence production.
3. As agricultural productivity increases and farming becomes more
commercialized, it depends more heavily on inputs such as fertilizers,
pesticides, farm implements, irrigation equipment, storage and refrigeration
facilities and transportation equipment that are produced in cities and
distributed in rural regions through market towns and small urban centers.
4. Rising incomes from increased agricultural production create internal
demand for a wide range of household and consumer goods that can be produced
in market towns and small cities or distributed through them. Without access
to the goods and services that market towns and cities can provide there is
little incentive for farmers to increase their output and raise their incomes,
and little opportunity to improve their living conditions.
5. The ability of towns and cities to perform important functions in
rural and agricultural development depends heavily on the diversity and
quality of their infrastructure and facilities, the planning, management and
financial capacities of their local governments, and on the strength of
private enterprises to provide necessary services and productive activities.
Market towns and small cities in many parts of Africa are already playing
a crucial role in providing the services, infrastructure and utilities
necessary to support small- and medium-scale enterprises that generate off-
farm employment. Many African towns and cities act as centers of innovation
diffusion for new agricultural methods and technologies and are channels of
agricultural information essential to increase production (Rondinelli, 1983).
Many rural non-farm enterprises--raw material processing, manufacturing,
construction, transportation, retailing, wholesale trading, and personal and
financial services--are also located in African towns and cities, serving both
urban residents and people from surrounding rural areas (Obudho, 1983).
In the future, if towns and cities are to play a stronger role in
expanding off-farm employment opportunities, facilitating agricultural
development, providing employment and offering the conditions necessary for
private enterprise expansion, international assistance organizations and
national governments will have to give much more attention to improving their
physical infrastructure and public services. Investments in roads, market
facilities, transportation facilities, housing, storage, and utilities will be
needed in market towns and small cities. In addition, more attention will
have to be given to strengthening the capacity of local governments to manage
urban infrastructure and services efficiently.
URBANIZATION AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
Although Africa is now the least urbanized region in the developing
world, its rate of urban population growth is the highest. Urban population
is expected to increase on average by more than 4.7 percent a year over the
next decade. In 1960, there were only about 52 million people living in urban
areas in Africa. By 1980, that number more than doubled to 129 million. At
the end of the 1990s more than 340 million people--about 42 percent of the
population--will be living in urban places. In northern Africa more than
half, and in southern Africa about 60 percent, of the population will be
urbanized (UNCHS, 1987).
Cities and towns in all size categories are growing in number and
population. The number of people living in towns of less than 100,000
population grew from 24 million to nearly 58 million between 1960 and 1980.
The number of cities with from 100,000 to one million in population will
increase from the 82 that existed in 1960 to 149 by the year 2000. In 1960,
there were only 4 cities in Africa with more than one million in population,
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and they had less than 8 million inhabitants. By 1980, the number of cities
of more than a million people increased to 20 and will expand to 59 by the
year 2000. Their populations will grow from about 37 million to nearly 83
million (UNCHS, 1987).
Although cities in Africa are growing rapidly, agriculture plays a
crucial role in the economies of nearly all African countries and will
continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Agriculture contributes on
average more than 40 percent of the gross domestic product in African
countries. More than 75 percent of the labor force is engaged in agriculture.
Primary sector goods account for more than 68 percent of total African exports
(World Bank, 1986). In addition, African governments derive a large amount of
revenues from direct and indirect taxes on agriculture (Lele, 1981).
IMPORTANCE OF URBAN SETTLEMENTS FOR AGRICULTURE AND
The roles that African towns and cities play in support of agriculture
will become increasingly important over the next decade. Governments in
African countries, and international assistance organizations, will have to
deal more effectively with urban-rural relationships in three types of
economies: 1) in regions where agriculture is still at a low-surplus or
subsistence level; 2) in regions in transition to commercial agricultural
production; and 3) in regions with large cities and metropolitan areas.
Urban-Rural Linkages In Low Surplus Agricultural Areas
In low- surplus and subsistence regions, where less than half of the
agricultural production is traded, rural households do not participate heavily
in market activities. Much of the traded surplus is exchanged in small lots
in periodic market places, or is collected at the farm gate by itinerant
brokers or traders who resell it in larger lots at markets in towns and
cities. Although intermediaries, brokers, and traders play a crucial role in
the exchange process in low-surplus areas, if farmers themselves do not have
access to markets they can easily be exploited by middlemen.
The marketing characteristics of low-surplus agricultural regions differ
drastically in different parts of Africa and within individual countries. Yet
the spatial aspects of marketing have some common characteristics in nearly
all low-surplus regions. Among the common features are: 1) low levels of
marketing interaction among low-income households, and weak trade linkages
between rural areas and towns and cities; 2) strong dependence of most farmers
on intermediaries and brokers to collect and market their surplus goods; 3)
short geographical distances of market interaction for most rural families who
trade primarily in periodic market-places; 4) long travel distances for most
rural residents to towns and cities for purchases of specialized goods and
services; and 5) relatively small numbers of towns and villages with
significant levels of market trade. In subsistence or low-surplus regions
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widely scattered and poorly connected towns function primarily as rural
service centers (Rondinelli, 1987).
In many subsistence regions, there are few market towns and cities that
can provide outlets for the sale of agricultural surpluses and for the
distribution of inputs and consumer goods and services. Other low-surplus
regions may have large numbers of small towns, but the settlements are not
physically and economically integrated and their markets are not vertically
coordinated. Small-town markets often are not linked to bulking and assembly
centers in intermediate cities, and the intermediate city markets are not
effectively linked to the larger urban markets for agricultural products. Nor
are linkages between market towns and intermediate cities and their
surrounding rural areas strongly developed. Thus, only those people living in
market towns and cities usually benefit from their services and facilities.
Those living in peripheral or far-distant areas have little or no access to
either markets or agricultural inputs.
Studies in other parts of the developing world indicate that small and
marginal farmers usually have more marketable surpluses than agricultural
experts expect. But inefficient agricultural marketing systems and limited
access to market towns have serious negative impacts on farmers' living
conditions. Poor access to markets increases the proportion of marketing
costs for all farmers, but has stronger adverse impacts on small and medium
sized farmers than on large scale producers (Bohle, 1985). When they have a
choice, farmers prefer to trade even in small periodic markets rather than to
depend exclusively on intermediaries. Research on grain and livestock
transactions in the Cinzana region of central Mali, for example, indicate that
the majority of transactions in all commodities take place in weekly markets
because these periodic market centers provide better access and terms of trade
for small scale producers (Coulibaly, 1985).
The lack of an effective system of market towns in rural regions not only
limits the accessibility of farmers to market outlets and increases transport
costs, but it also limits their access to the social services and consumer
goods that provide important incentives for increasing production and
household income (Epstein, 1985).
Studies of the Louga Department in Senegal, for example, show that
inadequate services and infrastructure in market towns and weak physical and
economic linkages between rural villages and market centers are serious
obstacles to economic growth in the region (Gihring, 1986). Among the factors
inhibiting increased agricultural production and off-farm employment are
inadequate roads, the infrequency of transportation services in rural areas,
the concentration of services and facilities in only a few of the towns in the
department, and the long distances people must travel to market their goods
and obtain services. Most traded agricultural goods are simply exchanged in
small periodic markets. The commercially traded goods are gathered by agents
or truckers and sold in Louga or Dakar. Except for perishable vegetables,
most agricultural goods and rural crafts are brought to periodic markets by
farmers who must walk, on average, 10 kms. each way between home and market.
Thus, they can sell only what they and their families can carry.
In the absence of accessible markets for selling agricultural surpluses
and for purchasing goods and services with increased income, there is little
motivation for rational farmers to increase output.
Roles Of Market Towns In Commercializing Agricultural Regions
In regions that are in transition from low-surplus to more commercialized
agriculture, the requirements for increasing production become more numerous
and complex. When the demand for and the supply of agricultural goods begin
to grow larger, increased production depends on modern farming technologies
that raise both yields from existing land and the output per unit of human
time. Modern agriculture depends not only on new technology and research and
extension, but also the production of industrial inputs and on government
policies and programs that support agricultural development (Mellor, 1967;
The linkages that emerge between agriculture and commercial and
manufacturing activities in towns and cities as development occurs take a
number of forms:
First, as agricultural productivity increases and farming becomes more
commercialized, it depends more heavily on manufactured inputs, including
fertilizers, pesticides, farm implements, flood control and irrigation
equipment, land clearance equipment, tractors, agricultural chemicals, storage
and refrigeration facilities, and transportation equipment. Most of these
inputs are produced in cities and must be distributed through a network of
market towns if they are to reach farmers (Johnston and Kilby, 1975).
Second, the economies of market towns and small cities also come to
depend more heavily on increased agricultural output. Agricultural products
provide inputs for expanding agro-processing industries--those that mill
grains and rice, process meat and dairy products, and refine sugar, for
example--many of which are located in small towns and cities in rural regions.
Agriculture also provides inputs such as natural fibers and livestock by-
products to non-food processing industries (UNIDO, 1972). In many African
countries, market towns and small cities offer locational advantages for agro-
processing and agribusiness enterprises (Rondinelli, 1983).
Third, and equally important, rising rural household incomes from
increased agricultural production create internal demand for a wide range of
manufactured goods produced in cities. Research shows that where agricultural
production has increased beyond the subsistence level, demand has increased
rapidly among rural households initially for clothing, shoes, sandals, combs,
brushes, cosmetics, plastic, light fixtures, wooden furniture, bricks and
paint for home improvements, bicycles, radios, and electric fans. As incomes
continue to rise, greater demand is created for consumer durables such as
televisions and motor vehicles (Johnston and Kilby, 1975). Market towns and
small cities can accommodate the shops and stores that meet growing consumer
demand in rural areas as agricultural development proceeds.
- 75 -
Fourth, as agricultural productivity increases, market towns and small
cities must play a more vigorous role in supporting small-scale enterprises
and generating off-farm employment. Rapidly increasing agricultural
productivity frees labor from farming and pushes people from rural areas into
towns and cities in search of new employment and investment opportunities.
Employment in towns and cities allows farmers in nearby rural areas to
supplement household income. Remittances earned by migrants provide
additional income for household members remaining in rural areas.
A growing number of studies confirm the conclusion that the expansion of
private enterprise in market towns and small cities in rural regions is
essential for developing agriculture and for generating off-farm employment
(Liedholm and Meade, 1986). The World Bank (1978) has found that increasing
agricultural production and employment in off-farm enterprises is necessary to
raise rural household income, retain population in rural regions, moderate the
migration from rural areas to large cities, and diversify rural economies. In
many countries small- and medium-scale enterprises in rural regions are at the
nexus of a constellation of activities that accelerate economic growth (Steel
and Takagi, 1983).
Rural enterprises now provide a primary source of employment and income
for between 25 and 33 percent of the rural labor force in developing
countries. They provide part-time employment and supplementary income for
small-scale farmers, and full time employment for townspeople in food
preparation, construction, personal services, transport, agro-processing,
commercial services and small-scale manufacturing activities. In Kenya, for
example, rural nonfarm enterprises include a wide range of these activities
that are primarily located in market towns and small cities. Employment in
the rural nonfarm sector in Kenya is about 8 times as large as in the urban
informal sector (Freeman and Norcliff, 1981). In many market towns in Africa,
women are the primary vendors and retailers of cereals, grains, vegetables and
prepared foods as well as cottage industry products. Small-scale and informal
enterprises in market towns are crucial to enhancing their household income.
Fifth, market towns and cities can also facilitate agricultural and rural
development in other ways. Market towns act as centers of innovation
diffusion for new agricultural information, methods and technologies developed
in larger urban centers or abroad. The population growth and economic
diversification of these towns and cities also influence the agricultural
cropping patterns and land uses in surrounding rural areas (Wortman and
Finally, the single most important function of towns and cities is that
they form an essential marketing network through which agricultural
commodities are collected, exchanged and redistributed. (See Figure 1.)
In nearly all commercial agricultural regions, agricultural goods that
are not retained for household consumption, feed, seed or in-kind payments,
move through a complex network of public and private enterprises based in
villages, market towns, and intermediate-sized and large cities (Rondinelli,
1986). Both food and nonfood agricultural products are marketed by farmers in
rural areas through cooperatives, itinerant traders, brokers, hullers,
processors, and millers, or directly by farmers themselves in village periodic
markets. Food products are also sold in market towns to brokers and truckers,
commission agents, and government marketing agents, or directly to consumers
in market places. Often some portion of the agricultural products sold in
villages and towns is bulked by traders, brokers and truckers, processors and
assemblers, and commission agents for resale in regular markets and to
wholesalers and retailers in larger towns and cities. Government marketing
boards, wholesalers, and brokers often re-bulk goods not sold in town and
small city markets for sale in metropolitan areas to exporters, urban
wholesalers, retailers, public institutions, supermarkets, informal sector
vendors, restaurants and hotels, grocery stores and a wide range of other
outlets. Thus, towns and cities not only facilitate the marketing of farm
products, but are essential to the whole chain of exchange on which commercial
In brief, where they function effectively, market towns and small cities
provide outlets for agricultural goods and products of cottage industries from
surrounding rural areas. They provide investment and employment opportunities
for both town and rural residents in a wide range of agricultural processing
and market-related trade activities. They function as agricultural supply
centers, providing equipment, seeds, fertilizer, machinery, repair services,
and information needed for agricultural development. Many towns and small
cities also offer an impressive array of economic, personal, commercial, and
public and social services needed by rural households.
Market Towns as Links to Agricultural Markets in Large Cities
International assistance organizations and African governments have
largely ignored the role of large cities and metropolitan areas as markets for
agricultural goods, and the importance of market towns in linking rural areas
to them (Rondinelli, 1987a). Where they exist in Africa, large cities are
important market centers for agricultural goods produced in peripheral and
rural areas. For example, in Tanzania, farmers from the rural hinterlands of
Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and the Coast Region, Mbeya, Arusha and Lushoto all
supply the major wholesale market in the city of Dar es Salaam (Sporrek,
1985). The largest amounts of food are bulked at villages and towns well
known to producers in the supply areas by truckers, middlemen and small-scale
In most large African cities, the distribution, preparation, and sale of
food involve a large number of workers in both large and small enterprises and
in informal sector activities. The linkages between the formal and informal
sectors involved in urban food distribution and sale are usually quite strong
(Rondinelli, 1987a). The World Bank's studies show that among the
nonagricultural self-employment activities in the urban areas of the Cote
d'Ivoire, nearly 45 percent in Abidjan are food related enterprises. In other
urban areas of the Cote d'Ivoire, nearly 46 percent of the enterprises involve
the preparation, exchange or sale of food (Vijverberg, 1988). Much of the
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investment and employment in the informal sector in African cities are related
to food distribution, preparation and sale and employ the labor and
entrepreneurial skills of women.
For farmers in many rural regions with commercial agricultural economies,
large cities and metropolitan areas are the final markets for their products
and the sources of many of their manufactured inputs and consumer goods.
POLICY IMPLICATIONS FOR A.I.D. AND HOST COUNTRY GOVERNMENTS
Although A.I.D. and other international assistance organizations have
provided marketing assistance for poor farmers and for small-scale enterprises
involved in urban food distribution, they have not thusfar focused their
attention on ways of strengthening the systems of market towns and cities on
which increased agricultural production, employment expansion, and enterprise
development so heavily depend. Much of the assistance that has been given by
international organizations in the past has been for improving agricultural
production technology rather than for expanding or improving marketing
systems. Nor have most governments in Africa given serious consideration to
locating their investments in agricultural support services, physical
infrastructure, housing and urban social services and facilities more
effectively in market towns and small cities. They have ignored the
opportunities to locate investments in ways that will strengthen relationships
among these investments and the capabilities of towns and cities to facilitate
agricultural marketing and private enterprise development.
Given the rapid pace of urbanization in Africa, the urgent need to
increase food production in rural areas and to expand employment opportunities
in urban settlements, policies that focus on strengthening urban-rural
linkages will become crucial to the economic progress of African countries
over the next two decades.
A.I.D. and other international assistance organizations can make an
important contribution to solving the food production and employment problems
in Africa by providing financial and technical assistance that strengthens
their marketing systems and the network of towns and cities in which markets
Policy Dialogue and Policy Reform
International assistance organizations can play an important role in
helping governments in African countries to reassess and coordinate their
national policies affecting urbanization and agricultural development. The
problems of agricultural development, employment generation and enterprise
development are inextricably related. If agricultural development and
employment expansion programs are to be successful, national policies must
contribute to creating five conditions (Mellor, 1986). First, there must be
an acceleration in the growth rate of agricultural production. In most
African countries, increases in agricultural output will come through changes
- 78 -
in technology and pricing policy. Second, there must be widespread access to
land ownership and secure tenure rights for small scale producers. Third, the
expenditures from increased income derived from accelerated agricultural
production must create demand for a wide range of goods and services produced
by enterprises in towns and cities. Fourth, an effective marketing system
must be created to lower food prices and to encourage employment in
nonagricultural sectors by making labor less expensive than the goods and
services it produces. Finally, a well integrated system of market towns and
cities with appropriate infrastructure and services must be available to
provide agricultural inputs and technology, to provide consumer goods and
services, to support small and medium scale enterprises that generate off-farm
employment, and to provide market outlets for agricultural surpluses.
National policies can support or inhibit the creation of these
conditions. The ability of market towns and cities to facilitate increased
agricultural production depends on appropriate agricultural pricing policies.
If government policies and pricing restrictions act as disincentives for
increased agricultural production there is no reason to believe that the
existence of market towns alone will create incentives for increased output.
In countries with predominantly low surplus agricultural production or in
which the private sector is weak, governments may have to take a strong role
in providing at least a minimum package of agricultural inputs. Governments
may have to provide credit to cooperatives or private enterprises to supply
farm inputs. In the short run, governments in some countries may have to
provide inputs that farmers cannot easily provide for themselves individually
or through cooperative activities, or that private enterprises cannot offer
effectively or efficiently.
Investment in Market Town Infrastructure and Services
International assistance organizations can play an important function in
helping African governments with the allocation and location of investments in
infrastructure, services and facilities in market towns and cities. Because
investment resources are scarce in most developing countries, many projects
that are needed to support agricultural development and off-farm enterprises
cannot be scattered widely over the countryside. They must be concentrated in
strategically located settlements that have adequate populations to support
them and that are accessible to people living in a large surrounding rural
The most important elements of an infrastructure and services investment
program for market towns in low surplus and commercializing agricultural
1. Basic market-support infrastructure, especially community storage
facilities, adequate transportation facilities, and farm- to-market and inter-
market roads that can increase the physical access of farmers to market towns
and small cities.
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2. Public services, facilities and utilities that support small- and
medium- scale enterprise development in market towns and small cities. Public
facilities are especially important for small and medium scale industries
providing basic consumption goods and agricultural inputs.
3. Basic health, education and social services that improve the
productive resources of town dwellers and the rural population. Once these
basic social services are in place they can create the preconditions that
allow private enterprises and nongovernment organizations to offer a wider
range of personal and commercial services in small towns and cities (Wanmali,
4. Investments in market facilities, credit and technical assistance for
small- and medium-scale commercial, farm supply, agricultural processing, and
food distribution enterprises in towns and cities. Priority for investment
should be given to towns and cities that are strategically located to serve a
large rural population from surrounding areas.
In making investments in services and facilities in market towns in
Africa, A.I.D. and African governments must take into consideration the
special role that women play in both agricultural production and market place
trade. It is estimated that 85 percent of the rural women in Africa work in
agriculture and that 80 percent of food consumed in rural areas is produced,
processed and stored by women (Cassem, 1987). Women often make important
decisions about the allocation of agricultural products between household
retention and commercial marketing. Women are heavily involved in--and in
some countries have a crucial role in managing--all aspects of the food system
in market towns and cities. Their needs as participants in distribution,
marketing and processing must be considered. The facilities and
infrastructure provided in market towns should be designed to meet their
particular needs and should facilitate their activities. Women's
participation in program planning and implementation can strongly influence
the success of investments aimed at strengthening the economic functions of
A.I.D. can also help African governments to improve the financial
management capacity of municipal governments in market towns and small cities,
to develop new methods of raising local revenues for providing infrastructure
and services, and to improve municipal management capability to maintain them.
A.I.D. can play a crucial role in helping national governments in Africa to
decentralize appropriate services to the local level, and create decentralized
financial and management capabilities in local governments and nongovernment
Investments in Urban-Rural Physical Linkages
Although most governments in developing countries allocate inadequate
resources to agriculture and marketing, significant changes in rural-urban
marketing systems can be brought about without massive new investment.
- 80 -
Careful locational analysis and planning of current investment to promote a
pattern of decentralized concentration of productive activities and market
facilities in existing market towns and cities can begin to strengthen the
capacity of these places to facilitate agricultural development.
Strengthening the marketing functions of towns and cities must be done
carefully, incrementally, and strategically. Not all towns and cities in a
region can or should have a full range of marketing services, facilities and
infrastructure. One of the benefits of having a well-developed and integrated
system of towns and cities is that it provides access to a wide range of
functions for a large number of people without each settlement having to
provide all of them.
A.I.D. has already developed applied methods of regional analysis that
can be used to identify the market towns and cities that perform important
support functions and to determine their investment needs (Rondinelli, 1985).
Incremental changes in the allocation and location of already-planned
investments can be the basis for building a stronger network of market centers
from which to provide the services, facilities and productive activities
needed to stimulate rural economies.
For these towns to perform their functions effectively, however, they
must be linked together physically in a network that forms an integrated
market system. Investments are needed in roads, telecommunications, and rail
and waterway transportation. A.I.D.'s studies of rural-urban road investments
in developing countries indicate the pervasive impacts these physical linkages
can have on both agricultural and urban development. Among the benefits of
farm-to-market and arterial roads in countries with conducive agricultural
policies have been: lower transport costs, significant agricultural production
increases, changes in crop composition, adoption of commercial inputs and more
effective agricultural extension services (Anderson and Vandervoort, 1982).
The extension of road systems also facilitates the spread of agricultural
processing activities in rural regions, increases land values in areas along
the roads, and stimulates new and more effective marketing patterns. Roads
increase access to off-farm employment, and provide easier access for a larger
number of rural households to social and public services located in towns and
In brief, development programs for market towns and cities that improve
urban-rural linkages and strengthen regional marketing systems can make
important contributions to increasing agricultural production, expanding
employment, and promoting private enterprise.
But before A.I.D. can engage in policy dialogue with governments in
Africa or extend financial and technical assistance effectively, much more
needs to be learned about rural-urban food and input-supply marketing systems
in developing countries. Although A.I.D. has sponsored a large number of
- 81 -
commodity marketing studies in developing countries, neither it nor other
international assistance organizations have done extensive research on the
spatial characteristics of urban food marketing systems or the regional
patterns of market interaction.
Nor do we understand fully the social and economic changes--some of which
can be adverse for the poorest rural households in the short run--of expanding
market systems in subsistence agricultural regions.
Much more research also needs to be done on the dynamics of market towns
and small city growth and on the kinds of investments that support and
facilitate development of market towns and small cities at different stages of
Little comparative research has been done on the strengths and weaknesses
of different organizational structures for decentralizing financial and
management responsibilities to municipal governments in African countries or
on the most effective means of generating local revenues.
Despite these gaps in knowledge, however, policies and programs for
developing market towns and cities and strengthening urban-rural marketing
linkages will offer A.I.D and African governments a challenging opportunity in
the future to stimulate agricultural development and guide urbanization in
mutually beneficial ways. The success of those policies and programs may well
determine the success of national economic development efforts in Africa
during the next decade and the early years of the next century.
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Visit to the municipality of Sinfra
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STRENGTHENING OF LOCAL MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES
FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH: THE COTE D'IVOIRE CASE
DIRECTOR OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
Even though it has now entered the thoughts of all political leaders, the
concept of economic development is recent. In the first stage, economic
development in third world countries took place in a voluntary manner through
large projects. Modern agricultural lands increased, factories sprang up in
the midst of fields, modern infrastructure was installed here and there.
While most of the time being definitely useful, this equipment quickly found a
limit during the economic crisis. Such projects were expensive and their
profitability difficult to master.
Since strategies of economic development based on major poles is running
out of speed, a new way remains to be explored; that of development based on
existing localities in order that they may themselves generate economic
development or contribute to that development. In this context, the vast
movement of decentralization which started in C6te d'Ivoire in 1980 is likely
to offer an alternative solution. We shall examine successively the stages
and the characteristics of Ivorian decentralization, its major forms of
intervention and the factors which help to reinforce it.
A) The stages and characteristics of Ivorian decentralization
After a gestation period begun in 1978, the recent Ivorian
decentralization movement has known two major stages, one in 1980 and the
other in 1985.
Since 1978, lawmakers decided to increase the number of communes (local
administrative districts) and established 26 communes with full
responsibilities. The movement was thus launched. After two years of
gestation during which initial legislation designed to regulate their
operations was prepared, the communes became a reality in 1980 with the
election of the first municipal councils by universal suffrage.
This initial stage of decentralization was first and foremost a phase for
the preparation of laws (to date 9 laws and 25 decrees) and the initiation of
the operation. This first stage was limited to the agglomeration of Abidjan
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where ten communes and a central city unit were created, as well as the most
populous and active areas in the interior of the country. This phase reached
a population of some 3,000,000 inhabitants.
The second phase of decentralization started in 1985 with the creation of
98 communes in various localities. This was a remarkable growth in the
communal field bringing the total number of officials elected by universal
suffrage to 3,910 as against 1,210 previously, and the population covered by
communes up to 4,200,000 which represents about half the population of the
As an enlargement phase, this second stage is also marked by a deepening
of the operation where the priorities are: greater concentration on rigorous
management, the establishment of a real community development policy and a
greater respect for the legal texts and rules. The major thrusts of this
second phase are important as they will largely determine the stages to
To describe Ivorian decentralization, we should distinguish the
political, economic, social and legal aspects.
From the political point of view, decentralization has had the full
support of the Head of State, the Government and of the Party. The most vivid
proof of this support is the fact that, in spite of the limited financial
means of the state, nearly 60 billion Francs CFA have been placed at the
disposal of the communes. Although having benefited from external financial
aid it can and must be noted that the operation was integrally supported by
the Ivorian Budget.
Looking at their economic weight, the Ivorian communes manipulate a total
annual budgetary mass on the order of 36 billion Francs CFA ; and sums
allocated for investments total a little more than 12 billion Francs CFA.
Compared to the State budget, the communes represent about 6% of the
operating budget and 8% of the investment budget. The communes directly employ
some 13,000 persons. In indirect way it can be estimated that the communes
have created about 8,000 jobs through the limited investment that they are
From the social point of view, decentralization covers the entire
national territory, including the most disadvantaged localities.
As far as the political personnel is concerned, all social categories are
concerned. The country's professionals feel very concerned by the
decentralization exercise and are massively represented in the municipal
councils. The posts of mayor are occupied almost exclusively by these
professionals which is an indication of their attachment to their regional
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Considering the legal aspects of decentralization, it must be noted that
all the communes enjoy an identical legal regime whatever their size or place,
whether rural or urban. Thus the communes from the smallest to the largest,
from the richest to the poorest, enjoy the same rights and have the same
responsibilities. At the head of each is a mayor elected by the municipal
council. The municipality constitutes a collegial organ around the mayor and
the municipal council the deliberating organ decides on the duties of the
commune which the mayor and the municipality are charged with carrying out.
In the administrative organization of the state, the commune is the only
decentralized level. The actions of state are taken over locally by its
representatives who are the prefects and sub-prefects and the external
services of the technical Ministries.
The commune of 1980 is therefore a recent entity which benefited from
the patronage of the political hierarchy. Let's examine its actions from a
daily point of view and let's see if the planned objectives are being met.
B) Types of interventions of Ivorian communes
Besides the types that can be defined as classic, the communes intervene
in an indirect way, the mayor acting as a stimulator and as a catalyst. Both
aspects of this point will be examined.
The Ivorian communes have at their disposal a general competency clause
which enables them to intervene in all areas whenever local interests are
involved. In practice, the communes orient their activities towards four
major sectors: general services; collectivity services; social, cultural, and
human promotion services; and economic services. The budgetary amounts that
they devote to each of the above-mentioned areas allows one to see where the
communes are most active. At the operating expenses level, the community
services are ahead followed by general services. Concerning investments, the
communes prioritize social, cultural and human promotion services, closely
followed by community services.
Thus the communes appear as a provider of services rendered to the
population. The creation of a municipality begins with the improvement or
simply the providing when nonexistent of a gamut of services to the
inhabitants of a city. Therefore, it can be said that the population of a
commune has a tendency to appear to be favored in the eyes of those who live
in localities not yet erected into communes. This represents an important
element of the study presently being conducted on the increase in the number
of communes, given that it is difficult to envisage the perpetuation of a
differential treatment of Ivorian localities.
Concretely, municipalities are particularly able to render important
services in the carrying out of daily-life administrative actions, the
disposal of household refuse, and in the educating children.
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Besides the classic administrative activities notably the
elaboration of civil status certificates the communes have intervened in
sectors which to date have received very little attention, such as the
collection of household refuse, which requires particular dynamic management.
In the same way, the level of needs to be satisfied in specific areas
such as the education of children, have led the communes to react to satisfy
Concerning collectivity services (collection of household refuse, road
maintenance, public sanitation, etc...) it would be wrong to say that sub-
prefectures were negligent in this regard. However, the system of delegation
of funds as practiced, did not allow the meeting of immediate needs. On the
contrary, the municipality with an autonomous budget can rapidly react to
needs as they are expressed.
Concerning the education of children, the needs are immense. Each
municipality has involved itself in the construction of schools. To date
approximately twenty communes are involved in the construction of junior high
schools and approximately ten are already involved in building high schools,
or are preparing to. The generalization of the municipalities' intervention
in the educational sector will create important financial problems considering
the heavy burden that educational expenses represent in the government budget.
Possibly the municipalities should envisage fixing the cost of their
services when they build or maintain schools just as the private sector does?
In intervening in a determined manner in the construction of schools, the
municipalities are placed at the turn between classical modes of operation
where the product or the services are procured finished and the novel modes of
operation. With the construction of a high school no one doubts that the
mayor and the municipal council wish to satisfy electors. Furthermore, it's
the economic results which are targeted.
Indeed, a high school represents 300 to 500 young people from surrounding
areas who will live locally; this is as many consumers with an economic
purchasing power parents being obliged to give money to their children to
enable them to eat and be lodged. In a commune in the west of the country,
the construction of a high school enabled the emergence of local opportunities
for poultry production and vegetable farming. Previous attempts had failed
for lack of buyers.
In addition to the interventions that can be qualified as "classic" and
related ones such as the example of high schools, more and more municipalities
attempt completely new actions. The example of municipalities' interventions
in the agricultural development sector is in this regard, particularly
significant. Since 1983, the municipality of Daloa started with the placement
of young people in agricultural production. It acted as the interlocutor of
international organizations and government enterprises for the establishment
of agricultural lands and fish ponds. Almost no expense related to this
activity was budgeted previously and thus activity would not have been
possible without the effective action of its mayor.
With the proliferation of municipalities in 1985 and especially due to
the fact that new municipalities are located in rural areas, it could be
expected that mayors would get more and more involved in agricultural matters.
As a general rule, they intervene as facilitators in census taking of
uneducated young people living in the municipality; they test their
motivation, and act as a liaison between the population of the municipality
and the organizations that can assist in agricultural development. In
addition and this aspect can be qualified as essential mayors impose
themselves as speakers before the traditional powers of the village elders to
obtain land for young people to establish themselves. If until now, results
haven't been spectacular in this area, it is because true actions require time
before bearing the first fruit. Nonetheless, one can cite some twenty
municipalities where such activities have been initiated. Concerning modern
agricultural equipment to be used by young farmers, experiments have been
initiated where a municipality will buy agricultural equipment from its own
budget to be rented out on a daily basis to farmers.
Another experiment took place where the mayor of a municipality of a
cotton production area in the north of the country organized a trip to a
diversification of agricultural production within the municipality. The
experience is promising and the first cotton seeds will be planted soon.
Aside from the traditional actions which are relatively costly because
they constitute an important part of expenses, and apart from the new
intervention areas just mentioned, the municipalities act efficiently in the
organization of food markets, in the construction of shops which are rented to
retailers, in the establishment of car and bus stations, and in the
construction of warehouses for the storage of food products. If the
municipalities' interventions in these areas are in general fruitful in terms
of revenues to the municipality, the latter hesitates to invest because quite
frequently decayed infrastructure already exists that meets commercial
exchange needs. The improvement of this infrastructure such as markets, is not
perceived to be a priority, the collection of taxes is seen by the elected
officials as something which is independent of the quality of the
Municipalities therefore constitute dynamic organs likely to solve the
daily problems of its population and efficiently help them find long term
solutions to problems of economic importance. To ensure these goals, what are
the communes management resources?
C) Financial sources available to the communes and how to reinforce them
Just as we remarked earlier, Ivorian communes have benefited from
substantial financial aid from the State. In reality, this financial
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assistance represents 24% of the total amount of the communes' cash inflow,
even though this portion is more important in the smallest communes. The
communes enjoy former State taxes related to property ownership and commercial
activity whose contributions are now paid into commune coffers.
This cash inflow represents 35% of the communes total revenues. The
communes can also sell the services they offer and these receipts represent
21% of the total.
Embryonic in the beginning, the human resources and management techniques
have ceaselessly developed and improved with the passing of time. The efforts
of local collectivities to better master their management constitutes a
priority of the supervising authority. In reality this is seen through the
increase in the number of actions aimed at developing professional aptitudes
of the communes' employees and by the traffic of directives and explanatory
If during the first phase of communalization only two or three operations
were undertaken over a five year period, there have already been six since
1986 concerning 382 beneficiaries and representing 791 hours of instruction.
The originality of the system which has been put in place resides in the fact
that the design of these actions and the educational interventions are carried
out by civil servants at the Department of Local Collectivities (DLC). In
order to increase the volume of development workshops on professional
aptitudes at work, a vast program is being elaborated with World Bank, UNDP
and USAID financing.
Concerning management techniques in the communes, the legislature wanted
them to be very effective. Concerning the budgetary and accounting fields,
the communes dispose of a complete budgetary nomenclature that permits them
them to fix at the budget level, and to retrace in their accounts, the various
operations by nature and by function. Thus it is possible through this
nomenclature to verify the adequacy between the receipts coming from a
specific activity such as refuse disposal and the related expenses.
In addition the communes are expected to draw up a three year development
program which shows the operations to be carried out during the three
following years and this to be prioritized. The plan is revised each year
with the intention of adding new operations or modifying the order of
priorities. This three year development program has been designed to oblige
elected community officials to integrate their actions within a context which
is more comprehensive than the simple annual budget and to relate the
operations between them.
At the same time the three year programs permit the supervising Authority
to know the communes' priority orientations and to verify in advance, their
compatibility with the objectives fixed in the national plan.
The reinforcement of the communes' management capabilities could not be
complete if measures had not been taken with a view to a better mobilization
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of receipts. Already, experiments for a better yield from property taxes have
been undertaken from simplified maps. Positive results are apparent but the
nature of a property tax itself remains unpopular with the population. On the
other hand, the payment of a tax against service rendered or in direct
connection with a commercial activity is much more easily accepted. The
rationalization of the collection of these type of receipts is to be
developed; in the same way, the extension of the number of services that yield
taxation is advisable. It is obvious that a commune that puts great efforts
into household refuse disposal and public sanitation could convince people to
accept that a fixed tax should be collected for this purpose. Experiments at
taxation on refuse disposal will soon be carried out.
However, whatever the operational methods used, however effective they
may be, the real effectiveness of communal management remains in the fact that
possibilities for discussion exist between the concerned population and the
elected municipal officials. This link is, in our opinion, the most sure
guarantee that the most suitable solutions will be found. This is generally
so, except in unusual situations to which the supervising Authority accords
In summarizing the stages and the characteristics of decentralization in
Cote d'Ivoire, the objective is to give a few salient points that would permit
a clearer view of the breadth of the communes' activities. These are varied
and, if interventions of the classic types continue to constitute the
essential part of the expenses of the communal budget, the Mayor is more and
more a stimulator of actions which have not been transferred to the communes.
In fact, by the grace of effective management tools that constitute the
budgetary and accounting nomenclature and the three year program, the communes
are proving themselves capable of intervening in an effective manner in all
realms of economic and social life. They benefit from the ever improving
qualifications of the communes' personnel. It is thus demonstrated that the
commune constitutes an alternative strategy to that of the great poles of
development. The commune therefore responds effectively to the
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