Institutional Sustainability in Agriculture and Rural Development: A Global Perspective

By Derick W. Brinkerhoff; Arthur A. Goldsmith | Go to book overview

2
Sustainability and Rural and Agricultural Development

Arthur A. Goldsmith and Derick W. Brinkerhoff

Agricultural development has three distinct but related dimensions: the physical-technical, the economic-financial, and the institution-human. The physical-technical dimension addresses land utilization, agricultural technologies, research and extension, agricultural inputs, farm-to-market access, productivity and production maximization, and so on. Agricultural development from the economic-financial perspective is concerned with costs, factors of production, terms if trade, pricing policies, subsidies, incentives, credit, return on investment, market mechanisms, and the like. The institutional-human dimension looks at knowledge and skills, organization and management, training, implementation capacity, social relations, politics, communication, motivation, participation, local government, public-private sector linkages, culture and values, historical experience, and so on.

Agricultural development, as with much of the development field, has tended to be the province of the technical and economic specialists. Their language and concerns have dominated the analysis of rural and agricultural sector issues, the specification of agricultural development objectives, and the design of programs and projects to achieve those objectives. The institutional-human dimension has frequently been either completely ignored or treated as a source of problems or constraints to achieving technical and economic targets, a residual category

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