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Background to study
More than 70% of Nigerians live in the rural areas, hence there is a need for the government to take the issue of rural development seriously, particularly issues related to the formulation and implementation of rural development policy (Nzimiro, 1985:1-3, 1990 population census). Besides, there is a global concern on issues of poverty and rural development by state governments and theUnited Nations.
Any attempt to improve the rural condition is a welcome development. Nzimiro (1985:5-81) argues that:
part of the reasons for interest in rural development study is because of the increase in social differentiation between the rural and urban areas. The dwindling quality of rural life had encouraged many rural producers to escape from the suffering of rural poverty to urban misery.
The level of development in Nigeria is too low considering the amount of resources at Nigerias disposal. In the immediate post independence years for instance,
Nigerians had expected tremendous positive changes in their conditions of living. This however, was not the case. This condition of backwardness may be attributed to the level of development bequeathed to the nationalists at independence by the colonial masters who saw the rural areas as mainly sources of raw materials for export. (Rodney; 1972, Ake, 1981; Alkasum, 1986).
The modernization approach imported from the Western developed economies failed to transform the third world societies. Modernization was simply the adaptation of western institutions, structures, and values such as the Weberian type of bureaucracy, periodic elections, and excessive capital formation for investment and industrialization, etc.
Todaro and Smith (2006:435) have argued in support of this position that: Based on the historical experience of western countries economic development was seen as requiring a rapid structural transformation of the economy from one predominantly focused on agricultural activities to a more complex modern industrial and service sector. As a result, agriculture’s primary role was to provide sufficient low – priced food and manpower to the expanding industrial economy, which was thought to be the dynamic leading sector in any overall strategy of economic development.
Todaro and Smith argued further that, today, as we have seen, development economists are less sanguine about the desirability of placing such heavy emphasis on industrialization. They have come to realize that far from playing passive supporting role in the process of economic development, the agricultural sector and the rural economy in general must play an indispensable part in any overall strategy of economic progress.
Rural development has been approached from different perspectives, using different models or approaches. Modernization for example is supported by western capitalist countries, where it is seen as the process of transformation of society from its old ways to a new one. Ujo (1994:113) argues that, modernization is a process of total transformation of a traditional society to the type of technology and associated organization that is characteristic of the advanced economically prosperous and relatively politically stable nations of the western world.
It is argued by the proponents of modernization that, third world societies are backward because they lack technological skills necessary for development. They need to adopt new western technology and institutions that are more effective and efficient. The solution to the problem, Nkom argues (1995:23) “is assumed to be in the adoption of modern technologies, institutions, managerial systems and ways of doing thing”. Some modernization scholars such as Williams, Mabogunje, Famiriyo see rural development as agrarian transformation, where modern methods of farming are adopted with new high yielding crops that is why the Agricultural Development Projects (ADP) were introduced in the early 1980s. To Mabogunje, it is integrated rural development where different facets or sectors are improved at the same time. Williams (1985), MabogunJe (1992) and Famiriyo (1985) have discussed extensively on this approach which involves agrarian transformation process of infrastructure provision such as construction of schools, clinics, and promotion of small scale enterprises, etc. All of these approaches are classified under the top-down strategy of rural development. There is also the redistributive Justice model whose emphasis is on equity and social justice. The model encourages land redistribution to the poor, access to basic social amenities, and participation by the people in the formulation of rural development policies. Community development is also one of the approaches which lay emphasis on mobilization of the people for self help. The two approaches are seen as the bottom up approach. Cross river State has adopted one or a combination of the approaches above particularly the adoption of western mechanized methods of farming under the current regime of Jonah Jang. Farm model centres managed by the Israelis, and the Cross river Agricultural Development Programme, a World Bank initiative, with a view to transforming agriculture, which invariably translates into rural development, using the top-down approach to rural development, but rural development goes beyond agricultural transformation. That is why the study of the three selected agencies are helpful if we are to understand the challenges of rural development in Cross river State.
The primary motivation to this study is the visible rural neglect, poverty and backwardness seen in the rural areas of Cross river State. Over the years, statements are made by government to transform the rural areas, yet you find the rural areas with bad roads, ill-equipped hospitals, no good drinking water, insufficient schools, etc. What has happened to the policy statements, programmes and budget allocations to the rural areas? The study has identified Cross river Agricultural Development Programme, Direct Labour Agency and Cross river Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, because by their objectives, they have direct bearing on rural development in the state. It is for this reason that this research investigates the mission of the three selected agencies, their operation, and the extent of their impact on the rural conditions in Cross river State. The study also investigates the challenges faced by these agencies in the discharge of their functions.
STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
Analysis of the Nigerian rural condition suggests that rural areas in Nigeria are in a state of neglect, with serious consequence for development in general and national development in particular (Olatonbosun, 1975). Colonial rule which gave credence to extraction of raw materials for export at the expense of food crops and other aspects of rural development laid the foundation for rural neglect. Even though the raw materials were extracted from the rural areas, the rural areas were neglected in terms of infrastructure development. There was also too much concern on the production of cash crops rather than developing indigenous food crops such as cassava, yams, cocoyam, etc which cater for the nutritional needs of the rural dwellers (Abba and Anazodo, 2006).
This trend seems to have impacted on our post-colonial elite who saw development as simply the adoption of modernization in agriculture. This may have explained the reasons for the adoption of agrarian transformation through mechanization, importation of fertilizers, building of gigantic dams etc. as a solution to the agrarian crisis (Nzimiro, 1985, Nkom, 1985). The establishment of the Agricultural Development Projects (ADPS) in the early 1980s, the River Basins, construction of dams, etc were all aimed at propagating agrarian transformation which was seen as the major catalyst for rural development (Otaki, 2005).
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research is guided by the following research questions:
1. Are the people of gboki beneficiaries to industrialization programme?
2. What are the challenges to rural development in Cross river State?
1.4 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
1. Examine if the people of Gboki are beneficiaries to industrialization programme
2. determine the challenges to rural development in Cross river State
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is expected to contribute to the ongoing discussion on how to improve the rural areas as it is being addressed by African Heads of State through the
New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) policy/framework, and the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations Organization.The study is also expected to contribute to the literature on rural development, and development administration in particular since a critical analysis of the institutions, programmes and policies under study in Cross river State’s rural development efforts shall enable us proffer some solutions to the development problematic and thus a contribution to development administration, in general and public Administration in particular.
Also, the study is expected to benefit government/policy makers from its findings and recommendations which can help influence the strategies of rural development programmes in Cross river State and Nigeria in general. The study provides academics with emperical data on rural development programmes in Cross river State. Also, the general public can benefit when new strategies are adopted to change the conditions of the rural people in Cross river State.
1.6 OPERATIONALIZATION OF CONCEPTS
The following section focuses on the explanation of concepts that are used within the context of this research and their working definitions. These concepts are:-
The concept of development has different meanings for different people. For the purpose of this research, we view development as a process of societal transformation from a state of underdevelopment, to a state of growth, progress and fulfillment where the basic needs of life such as food, shelter, clothing, health, education, transportation, water, etc are met with no constraints.
Rural development as the word implies is the development of a segment of the society i.e. the rural areas. Thus, rural development can be seen as a process in which a set of technological, socio-cultural and institutional measures are implemented with or for the inhabitants of the rural areas, with the aim of improving their socioeconomic status or living condition in order to achieve a balance between the local and national sectors of the economy. For the purpose of this study, rural development means, a deliberate activity by the rural people themselves in conjunction with government or non-governmental agencies to change the well-being of the rural people for better, that is from an undesirable to a desirable state.
A development strategy or policy is simply the method, approach or model of development adopted by a country for its rural development.
Rural Development Policy
Rural development policy may include a study of the rural setting, a study of property relations, individual rural property holding, social conditions of the peasantry, mode of production, etc. For the purpose of this research, rural development policy is a purposive course of action taken by a country, government, institution or community to address the problem of rural backwardness in order to bring about change or improvement in the rural condition. This is usually achieved through projects or a programme e.g. improving agriculture through the Agricultural Development Project (ADP).
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