The inter-relationship between migration and the development of village industries : Evidence from village studies in the Northern Province
Salati, Stephen Manda
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This dissertation is a result of research undertaken in Kasama District of the Northern Province of Zambia from January to March 1988. Data were collected from 130 households and thirteen village industry entrepreneurs from four villages in the district. The study sought to investigate the effect of rural-urban migration on the development of village industries and conversely to evaluate and analyse the impact of village industries on rural-urban migration.In this study the impact of the rural-urban migration was analysed with reference to its impact on rural labour supply for village industry and potential village industry entrepreneurs.Interest was in finding out whether rural-urban migration deprives the rural areas of potential employees and village industry entrepreneurs. The study also attempted to investigate whether migration reduces rural household incomes which may result in the contraction of the market for the products of village industries. Finally the study analysed the impact of those who return to the village from urban areas with new ideas, skills and capital on the development of village industries.The impact of village industries on migration was analysed with reference to their impact in reducing rural-urban migration, encouraging the return of migrants from urban to rural areas, creation of jobs and sources of income and the improvement of living conditions of the rural population.It was found that far from impoverishing the rural areas migration serves the rural areas in many ways. Firstly, it reduces unemployment in the countryside. Secondly, migration provides the village with working capital for farming and non-farm enterprises such as village industries. Thirdly, and perhaps more important, some migrants acquire skills and ideas and a receptivity to new ideas and innovation which have been instrumental in the development of the few village industries that exist.With respect to the effect of village industries on reducing the movement to towns, the findings suggest that the impact is marginal.This is probably because the number of enterprises is low, their range of products narrow and their scale of operation is too small to have any significant impact on creating employment and viable sources of incomes, or improving the rural living conditions. Hence rural poverty persists and urban-bound migration continues in search of economic betterment. The findings also suggest that existing industries have serious problems such as transport, lack of raw materials and limited market due to low population concentrations and low purchasing power. Existing or potential village industries are not and will not be able to overcome these difficulties without specific government investment in transport and raw material development. A whole package of appropriate policies is also needed to raise rural incomes and living conditions so that rural needs can be translated into effective demand.Several policy implications emerge from the findings of this study. First, policy makers must not halt the movement to towns as that would only worsen rural poverty and unemployment. Secondly, as long as inequalities in social services, incomes and jobs between rural and urban areas exist and as long as school curricula continue to be urban oriented rural-urban migration particularly amongst the educated members should be expected to continue. Thirdly, policy makers must bear in mind that the reduction of rural unemployment and the raising of living conditions are not likely to be achieved through village industries per se. Rather it is only through a whole package of policies in which employment opportunities in other rural occupations and economic infrastructure will be developed simultaneously to boost other rural occupations and subsequently raise rural incomes. It is only within this broader environment of circumstances and influences that village industries can thrive and contribute effectively to improving living conditions and subsequently to a reduction in the movement to towns. Finally, if village industries are to be effectively integrated into rural development planning, more empirical research needs to be done in many areas including the kind of goods urgently needed in rural areas, the raw material situation and market potential. Such data should provide an improved planning framework for organizations and individuals interested in promoting village industries.
- Natural Sciences