Increasing productivity of subsistence agriculture Improving subsistence agriculture
Small-scale extraction of indigenous forest resources is very important to extremely impoverished households in rural areas of tropical Brazil. Such extractive activities are important as inputs to household reproduction, and are critical as a source of cash income. They are roughly equivalent to wage labour and to agriculture in its contribution to household income. This is usually overlooked in rural development analysis, and is of particular concern for three main reasons. First, the importance of small-scale extraction is more pronounced among the more impoverished. Second, extraction is a major source of cash for women, who are often denied access to alternative means of acquiring income in rural areas. Finally, current rural development programs are actively undermining access to the resources and often imply their destruction. Changes in social relations and technology can undermine the bases for the sustainability of the stable interactions between shifting cultivators and palms, such as exists in the babassu palm/shifting cultivation system in northeast Brazil.
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