The role of non-farm activities in the rural economy
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This paper draws upon recent research, to delineate the non-farm rural economy; its magnitude, its anatomy, and how it changes over time. We present evidence that non-farm activities not only make a major welfare contribution with respect to equity and income-smoothing, but that many of these activities add more to gross domestic product (GDP) than the substitute goods and services supplied by technically-advanced capital intensive producers. Finally, we argue that the sector is no more or less passive than any other sector in the economy, and that it can make substantial contributions to agricultural growth.