Improving rural-urban linkages through small town market-based development
Small towns can be effective instruments in developing countries to improve ruralurban linkages, expand market-based agricultural activity, and stimulate non-farm employment opportunities. This article illustrates the basic aspects of a small towns programme in situations where market-based development is the goal. It specifies a set of selection criteria and guidelines for the choice of small towns to be included in such a programme. It discusses a variety of implementation problems which can be anticipated and provides a general schedule for implementation. Finally, it introduces Kenya's Rural Trade and Production Centre Programme, which can be considered a prototype of a small towns programme. and discusses the processes of location selection, implementation and evaluation of the programme. This article analyses the logic behind market-based programmes to enhance ruralurban linkages through small town development. Market-based regional policy is introduced as a departure from traditional subsidy-oriented planning. Selection criteria and guidelines for choosing sites for investment are presented as linked to this market-based approach. Steps towards policy implementation are then discussed and the Rural Trade and Production Centre Programme in Kenya is introduced as an example of a market-based approach for achieving rural-urban balance.