The nonfarm sector and rural development
In most developing countries, the rural labor force is growing rapidly, but employment opportunities are not keeping pace. As land available for expansion of agriculture becomes increasingly scarce, nonfarm employment must expand if deepening rural poverty is to be avoided. Policymakers and analysts alike look to the nonfarm sector to increase rural employment, contribute to economic growth, improve income distribution, and alleviate poverty. Expanding opportunities in rural areas outside of agriculture also may help stem the migration of rural dwellers to the cities and slow the spread of urban congestion and pollution. At any feasible pace of growth of large-scale industrialization, urban industries are unlikely to absorb the rapidly increasing labor force. Therefore, it is up to the more labor-intensive rural nonfarm sector to absorb excess labor, promote economic growth, and diversify income sources.
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