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Abstract

In most LDC's, as high as 85 percent of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture and as high as 90 percent of the population live in the rural sector which comprises the population engaged both in farm and nonfarm activities. The level of income of the rural population is very low compared to the small urban sector of these countries and the income per capita growth rate is excruciatingly slow. At the same time this sector contributes 50-60 percent of the GDP in most countries with an average growth rate of 2.5 to 3 percent. Economists estimate that with population growing at 2 to 3 percent per annum and per capita income consumption rising at 1 percent, there will be an annual increase of 4 percent in demand for food. This growth in food production is not within the reach of most developing countries and as a result, malnutrition and food shortages will likely plague many countries. Moreover, people in this sector suffer from extreme poverty, disease, illiteracy, low levels of productive employment, etc. In this paper an integrated approach to improving the welfare of the rural people will be examined. This is a method of introducing different economic and social activities that have a converging effect of raising the level of living and bringing about a favorable change in the way of life of the rural population in a concerted and coordinated manner. The discussion will concentrate on African countries with mixed economies.

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