For example, the term “smallholders” is often used for all family farmers in developing countries, completely ignoring the different potentials, needs, roles in structural transformation and support options of this huge group. On the other hand, public and political debate does not benefit from excessive complexity and abstractness. Wherever possible, the model should be globally applicable, even though it may have to be adapted to the respective individual regions. This article looks at how suitable the “Five Rural Worlds” model presented by the OECD in 2007 is in this context.

Types of household and enterprise in the Five Rural Worlds model

The “Five Rural Worlds” model is target group-oriented and breaks down the rural population into five stylised types of enterprise and household. In a development co-operation debate, it has the advantage of specially considering poverty-relevant groups while also explicitly referring to the potential actors in economic growth. The model has not become particularly well established, perhaps also because the OECD does not hold any strong power of interpretation in rural development issues and because the model itself has been too little used and operationalised.