From the results it can be noted that the rural population growth rate is declining over the years. In Zambia infant mortality rate is declining and fertility rate too is declining over the years. Mortality declines before fertility due to better nutrition, and sanitation. Increased child survival means fewer births are needed to ensure the desired number of surviving children and thus a general fall in the population growth rate.
Economic transformation is the overriding feature of economic growth in low- and middle-income countries. Transformation is from a predominantly rural and agricultural nation to one that is predominantly urban with urban industry and services dominating the economy. It is accompanied by a demographic transition. The population growth rate first accelerates then slows and eventually declines. Health and life expectancy improve greatly (Mellor, 2017). In Zambia the seats held by women in the National Assembly has increased over the years. Women empowerment is important to economic transformation. Hence, measures that raise women’s status and allow them to realize their potential through women’s inclusion in workplaces, action to reduce violence against women, equal rights, and gender-sensitive social protection are to be considered. Exposing the women to better health care chances are, premature deaths of young children will decline and thus the mothers is also likely to reduce fertility.
The total number of people with Internet access in Zambia rose over the years from 2.9% to 10.0% to 25.5%. A population with such exposure to mass media/internet often portrays successful people with small families and family planning services. The fertility rate has been declining over the years as well as infant mortality rate in Zambia. Such observations could be attributed to; intensive publicity accompanied with efforts of making family planning services available in the rural areas. Effective family planning services can be achieved by delivering the services in villages to mothers, preferably through local women. In addition to this, Arranging for programs that warrant availability of the full range of birth control technologies, are key reason why birth rates have declined hence falling population growth. In the wake of rapid agriculture growth such programs work reasonably well in achieving population growth rates that can be managed.
Rapid decline in birth rates decreases the dependency ratio that is, dependency ratios of young and old to those in working age fall in rural areas .In Zambia the ratio of the young/old population has been declining over the years. This means that those in the working age group are growing more rapidly than the population that is dependent on it. Such decrease in dependency ratio will encourage savings and investments and possibly result to an increase in GDP per capita. More so, with women less occupied with child bearing and rearing, they are likely to explore job opportunities outside the homes and thus household welfare is likely to improve.
Low education levels especially in women may continue to uphold early marriage and child-bearing. The Government expenditure on education in Zambia decreased from 1.7% in 2005 to 1.1% in 2010. The female who enrolled for primary education has been increasing. Better education aided by Increase in government expenditure is key for economic growth. Better education and particularly for girls, can lower fertility as it leads to more knowledge available about health and nutrition and absorbing the knowledge increases women’s role in the family in terms of making family planning decisions. Well-educated rural population has ability to consume information shared by agriculture technical personnel and apply it with other innovations in agriculture to improve overall production.
Investments in rural infrastructures should be promoted as they have positive impact on fertility and on agricultural productivity and rural incomes. Poor transportation restrains girls’ participation in formal education more than boys; therefore, Infrastructures such as (roads, electricity, and mass media/internet) are important changes in reducing birth rates. Roads facilitate access to education and family planning by the rural population. With falling rural population growth, labor supply in the rural areas tends to fall and thus it is important to shift from labour intensive to more capital intensive methods of agriculture production. By establishing infrastructure such as irrigation farmers can maximize output on their small sizes of land and an overall increase in agriculture production.
In Zambia, employment in the non-farm sector has increased from 27.7% in 2005 to 47% in 2018 while that in the farm industry has been falling from 72.8% in 2005 to 53.0% in 2018. This situation is as a result of the wages difference in the two sectors, non-farm sector tends to have better income and hence rural people shift from the farm sector to go work in the non-farm sector. Most of the non-farm sectors are located in urban areas. Better migration policies that tend to be more informative, would try to aid rural household choices by enabling migrants to easily access services such as identity cards, and providing information on opportunities available at destinations. Developing rural financial services could prevent migration; people from rural migrate in search of capital for investment back in the rural areas. Financial services such as micro-credit are particularly important in encouraging women to participate in the small businesses that are important to the economic transformation. Income generated from such non farming activities can be used to purchase inputs, certified seeds and pesticides and hence it is expected that agriculture output will increase. When women embrace entrepreneurship they tend to have greater interest of birth rate issues.
Government of Zambia allocated no budget for research in 2005 but in 2010 it allocated 0.3% of the GDP to research and development. Research and development is essential for innovation in agriculture. With falling rural population Innovations such as genetic improvement of crops is essential for higher agriculture production. For instant, in the wake of falling workforce, having plants that are weed tolerant or pests and diseases resistant are quite handy as they utilize less labour. Technological innovations in agriculture results to crops that are more nutritious and better nutrition is key to declining mortality rate and overall decline in fertility rate. Government expenditure on research and development is of concern to the overall growth of the agriculture sector.
As rural populations fall, policies that encourage property rights over land are to be encouraged. Registration of informal rights to land and land transfers should officially be recognized. By doing so, it gives farmers right to operate the land. Other land issues such as fragmentation might trigger land laws that encourage consolidation of farming and thus allowing fields that can employ capital intensive farming methods.
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