strategy

Developing presently unusable farming land

Synonyms:
Increasing availability of marginal agricultural land
Developing marginal agricultural lands
Expanding marginal land production
Opening up marginal lands
Implementation:
In many parts of the world, including continental Asia where land is generally in short supply, significant tracts of marginal but cultivable land are unused for a variety of reasons. A well-recognized problem of the Indian Bhoodan Movement, in which freely donated surplus land is distributed to landless labourers, is that the land is often of poor quality. Without substantial initial inputs it cannot be viably worked. Some projects deal with the problem by making available credit and employment. Communal fodder farms have also been implemented through state governments. Private companies have established commercial plantations on wasteland using suitable trees ([eg] [Leucena] and [Eucalyptus]). The concept is to bring new land into cultivation, employ landless labourers and make a profit with a fair wage for the workers. There are also many examples in India and other developing countries of the strategy of landless people earning substantial incomes by raising and selling seedlings for re-afforestation projects to forest and horticulture departments of government and to the public.

The Gujarat State Rural Development Corporation Ltd developed saline and unproductive wasteland for fodder-cum-fuel cultivation (trees like [Leucana] or Lpil-ipil), providing employment over a period of five to six year to the unemployed landless labourers. Having learned the techniques of nutritious fodder production, the labourers are then helped to acquire a cow or buffalo through bank loans whenever feasible. This helps to produce more milk of better quality and enables the families to move out of poverty through increased returns.

In the 1980s, the Government of Jamaica embarked on its First Rural Development Project to resettle landless people, with assistance from the World Bank. Government wasteland was identified, divided into viable units and provided with the necessary infrastructure. By 1983, one thousand twenty families had been settled on the newly developed land. Four hundred farm houses with potable water were supplied and 100 miles of roads were constructed. Seven new market places were started. Five hundred and twenty acres had received soil conservation treatment and 1,500 farmers and extension staff had been trained. This has slowed the exodus of people to urban areas, made these landless families viable and enriched rural life.

Subjects:
Land type/use
Disadvantaged
Production
Agriculture
Farming
Resource utilization
Development
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies