Date of Award:

1970

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Economics and Finance

Advisor/Chair:

N. Keith Roberts

Abstract

This thesis is designed to establish bench marks which will facilitate the measurement of impacts of new crop and livestock extension practices on the rate of community development of the village of Achica Bajo, Bolivia. Successful agricultural extension and community development programs require adequate data at the farm and community level. In the absence of a real appreciation for the levels of income and financial needs of the campesinos, it is difficult to institute farm policies such as land tax measures which will have the desired impacts and consequences as well as peasant acceptance.

The study examines human and agricultural resources available to the community. Then utilization of these resources as measured by consumption, production and resulting income levels are measured. All of the demographic cultural and resource data were developed through first-hand field surveys.

The natural rate of population increase was calculated at nearly seven percent, all of which must absorbed by the present four hectares average sized farm unit available to the 129 cultivators of the village. Aggregate village income of about $36,00, during the bench mark year of 1967, was divided among these same producing units. Crop yields were found to be much below their potentials given proper irrigation and land cultivation practices. Part of the reasons for low agriculture productivity may also be attributed to the scale of individual farm activity for it was discovered that at least 40 percent of aggregate community income was derived from off-farm activities during 1967.

Over 55 percent of the total value of private assets are accounted for by livestock holdings, but income from this sector accounted for only 29 percent of the aggregate. Again natural factors such as poor breeds, low nutritional content of natural pastures and inadequate management practices are the important contributors to low productivity.

The rate of investment in the community is insignificant. Present income levels do not generate internal investment capacity. most transactions take place outside of the community, since commerce accounts fro only about 13 percent of aggregate community income. Thus, most of the value added in agriculture through community activities is captured by persons or groups outside the community. Per capita earnings in the community are less than one half the national average but are probably representative of the rural sector of Bolivia in general.

Some 62 percent of the population, seven years of age or over, had received at least on year of schooling and about 58 percent of the population over age seven were classed as literate. Nevertheless, 47 percent of the children of school age years were not attending school.

Greater outside employment or improvements in agriculture productivity levels must be achieved in order to maintain or improve income levels in the community.

A listing of quantitative bench marks covering many aspects of social and economic activity for the community of Achica Bajo are presented at the end of the thesis.

Included in

Economics Commons

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