Access to land and technology is a crucial criterion in assigning households to the Five Rural Worlds.
Photo: FAO/M. Qingwen
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The causes, processes and policy design of structural transformation in rural areas are multifarious and complex. Discussing them with a view to informing development co-operation on appropriate action requires conceptual models that are neither too complicated nor too simplistic. Here, the “Rural Worlds” approach of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) could be a starting point.

Development co-operation measures supporting structural transformation have to give special attention to growth processes, poor and marginalised groups of the population, maintaining environmental standards and effective planning and negotiating processes. Therefore, differentiated support programmes are needed for the various branches and groups of people addressed. However, these have to remain connected to the rural dynamics as a whole and the links between the elements. This calls for a conceptual model of rural areas that enables discussions among the many involved and affected individuals, institutions and sectors. The model should not be too simplifying.

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