Developing livelihoods in villages increases the viability of the village as a place to live.
Producers of agricultural goods do not have to go to the towns in search of income. They can sell what they produce in town markets if these are in easy reach or sell through village markets. Such activity helps to maintain local economies.
Agriculture, the only viable economic activity
For many areas of the Pacific islands, especially the Solomon Islands, where populations are scattered across a large number of islands with poor transport links, agriculture remains the only viable rural livelihood. The challenge for development agencies is how to build economically and environmentally sustainable livelihoods based on the village.
For TerraCircle and the Kastom Gaden Association, the Sustainable Livelihoods for Rural Youth Project indicated that a little training could go a long way to improving the skills and products of those who rely on agricultural production for income.
A focus on the ‘youth bulge’
Livelihood projects bring an additional benefit when they are aimed at the 15 to 35-year age group. It is this ‘youth bulge’, the product of recent population growth, that feeds political instability when its needs are not met and feelings of hopelessness set in. There is evidence for this from developing countries around the world.
Assisting this demographic to develop livelihoods and earn income in their home village is a practical means of increasing a country’s internal security.
Most village production is for the immediate consumption of families. This is subsistence production. Some farmers produce a small surplus that they sell or otherwise trade at village markets – what we call a semi-subsistence way of life.
The skills brought by TerraCircle trainers can be used to enhance both of these ways of life. They can also can be used to set up livelihoods in the form of small businesses.