By Eric Clayton
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Additional info for Agriculture, Poverty and Freedom in Developing Countries
Perhaps it would be better, to work with a structural definition of poverty, in which poverty is regarded as a product of a social system and reflects differences in access of various groups to sources of economic and political power. Above all, a structural definition of poverty focuses attention on where one should look for remedies. The provision of welfare services and income transfers are ruled out because they do not remove the underline causes of poverty. g. food, are exposed as being inadequate because of the lack of connection between changes in production and changes in purchasing power in the hands of the poor.
19 Since this statement does not refer to a specific country it is, again, an unsupported and, indeed, indefensible generalised assertion of the sort which, too often, flows from the pen of the general as opposed to the agricultural economist. There is wide variation between the agricultural characteristics of The Politics of Changing Development Objectives 37 developing countries and the description quoted no doubt describes some of these. But it is obviously quite inaccurate if meant to describe uni-modal, smallholder agricultures whose tenure systems vary (where there need be no sharecroppers), where land (whether owned, rented or just farmed) is certainly not concentrated in a few hands and where there are comparatively few landless labourers.
Smallholder agriculture has shown itself, in so many cases, to be highly productive, capable of sustaining relatively high and fairly evenly distributed income and of generating employment opportunities. This can be seen, for example, in Kenya, Taiwan, South Korea, and many other LDCs. This is why the extension of uni-modal agriculture is so desirable in those countries where the concentration of land is such that it completely inhibits agricultural development and poverty alleviation. Such is the case in some Latin American countries where bi-modal farm structures prevent the small -farm sector from developing its full potential.