Some developing countries feature low agricultural salience, in that the agricultural workforce share (and/or GDP share) falls well below the expected level. Whilst many factors might account for this (i.e. oil, minerals, arid climate) this paper argues that another cause of low agricultural salience, especially in countries with great farm inequality, is premature de-agriculturisation (PDA) which impacts on rural livelihoods. This causes rural dependency which is harmful to growth and welfare. The paper continues to review a rural survey of Limpopo Province, South Africa, and concludes with some possible policy implications for PDA countries indicating that some policies are non-starters and that others are worth analysing further.
Discussion papers in economics (discussion paper 92) delivered at the University of Sussex at Brighton in February 2003