Problems Facing Rural Development



Problems Facing Rural Development

Community, as we know, is made up of people living together in a defined bounded locality. The people’s co-existence is being promoted by a common territory, beliefs, values, administration and set standards or pattern of behaviour to mention but a few rural communities are, however, not without their problems. In this unit, the common problems of the rural communities will be discussed.

The factors that engender habitability are very germane in the quality of life of the rural people. Communities in rural areas are worth living in, but some perennial problems prevail, and they aggravate the rate of migration from rural areas to the urban areas. Some of the problems are social, physical and institutional infrastructure. Others are level of living and illiteracy

1. Social Infrastructure: One of the problems that still “drives” people from rural areas to urban areas is lack of or inadequate social infrastructure. Most rural communities are still deficient in the areas of health care facilities, educational facilities, portable water supply, employment opportunities and electricity supply.

Where some of the above are available, they may be in short supply, dysfunctional or moribund. As a result, rural communities are prone to outbreak of diseases and unemployment.

2. Physical Infrastructure: The problem of inadequate physical infrastructure is also worth mentioning. Poor road network does not allow rural people to convey their farm products to the market as at when due. Hence, spoilage, waste and reduction in marketability of products are perennial problems being witnessed by the rural dwellers. Also, where markets are available, lock-up stores are not provided. Due to lack of electricity in some communities, cottage industries cannot be provided and this makes processing of some farm products impossible.

3. Institutional Infrastructure: The institutional infrastructure is made up of the police, fire services, postal services, extension services and telephone services. Rural communities, in most parts of Nigeria lack institutional services. You must not forget that some of the institutions like the police and fire services are concerned about the people’s security, others with communication services while others are for information on improved farming technologies. The absence of these institutions, therefore poses much difficulties to the dwellers of these communities.

4. Level of Living: As earlier defined in this course, level of living is generally used to describe the quantity of goods and services actually consumed by an individual and his/her family. This includes the ownership and use of such items as radio, television, refrigerator, cooker, eating of balanced regular meals, being well clothed, living in a decent house and surrounding, owning some means of transportation and good income for children’s education.

Based on this description, it is obvious that the standard is lacking in rural communities. This is because rural dwellers are generally poor since a large percentage of the people live on peasant farming. It is lack of satisfaction in the level of living that is mostly responsible for the high level of migration from rural areas to urban areas.

5. Illiteracy: Studies have shown that a large percentage of illiterate Nigerians are in rural areas. Illiteracy in the rural areas encourages fatalistic tendencies among the people. Unwillingness to adopt improved methods of doing things makes the people to use old and non-productive practices. Therefore production has remained abysmally low and thereby affecting their income. Illiterate rural dwellers are prone to misinterpreting good government policies that affect their lives. It also affects information dissemination among the people.

Efforts of the government to encourage adult education in rural areas are a right step in the right direction. If the people become literate it will create in them the awareness and consciousness of government policies and so become politically active and enfranchised.

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