RURAL TRANSFORMATION

“Tourists who come to Nepal look at terraced fields and see their beauty but remain blind to the hard labour they extract from tillers.”

 Manjushree Thapa

As in every condition in our lives, in any good thing, there is also a bad thing, and in any bad thing, there is also a good thing overall. To put it another way, when there is something positive such as a new development, it always undoubtfully carries downsides, too. That is why I strongly believe that one is likely to take certain aspects for granted while only focusing on one specific concept. In other words, I do think that rural transformation has negative elements to consider, even though is a positive change regarding various perspectives.

Indeed, I would like to elaborate on the quotation given above; the tourists who visit Nepal admire the breath-taking open land since it is aesthetically pleasing, unfortunately, they disregard the dark side which is the difficult labor done by the hard-working farmer. Do the visitors only explore the beauty, not the pain. I am not able to argue the advantages that the transformation of the rural has its obvious convenience; however, I feel that besides the beneficial developments of the rural there are also unfavorable effects which I will clarify.

First of all, I would like to initiate my reflection paper by defining the rural as a term related to the countryside rather than the crowded city. In my opinion, the rural is more traditional and collective in terms of the family structure. Additionally, the extended families live a more pre-modern lifestyle compared to the urban. Another notable factor is the density of individuals, that is the population. I can observe that the rural is less busy than the urban due to several reasons, such as access to sources and life chances like health, education, or economy. For instance, people move to the urban, due to better job opportunities resulting in being economically more stable through earning more money. Even though some highly educated people are moving to west Turkey back, as highlighted in the documentary “Kırsala Göç” by Kinocycle, all in all, most of the individuals move to the urban.

According to Dickens rural sociology is reshaping traditional agriculture (2000). I do agree with that statement because as time passes, further farming techniques have to adapt to that specific conditions. Similarly, the term by Hegel “zeitgeist” demonstrates this; a spirit of a certain time period of history as shown by the opinions and beliefs.  (Rüthers, 1988). With this in mind, I think the rural should change since the world is constantly evolving naturally. Therefore, the influence of globalization on agriculture can be observed as Keyder (1983) underlines in his reading “Society, Space, and the Biotic Level: An Urban and Rural Sociology for the New Millennium”. Not to mention, Keyder states that rural transformation starts with the identification of class positions of particular households.  On the other hand, Bahattin Akşit does not agree with Keyder, that the southeast Anatolia large landlordism is the major path to capitalist farming which is over-emphasized by Keyder. To come back to the issue which is the negative aspect of rural transformation; the input price increased and alternatives were used instead of sugar beets. New actors were emerging such as transnational corporations (TNC) come on, European Union (EU), and NAFTA. They aim to have high-value agricultural commodities because the demand is coming from capital transnational companies, this is only possible through contract farming. There are also EU policies influencing the situation through pushing the control mechanism on traditional farmers. State-owned institutes were privatized, to be specific the privatization started in the 1990s such as Çaykur, Tekel, or şeker fabrikaları. In other words, a direct intervention took place. I think that controlling certain things through a significant intervention is positive in order to have a better understanding of the things and manage them more efficiently. For example, in the case of sugar production, the sugar law was in 2001 depending on this law 27 publicly owned factories were privatized. Afterward, in 2002 another critical law was that the sugar prices were not decided by the state anymore and sugar beet production was subsidized. The precious sugar board opened the Turkish market to international competition and reduce the quotas of sugar. global sugar consumption and production increased so it is an irony. As a consequence, the input prices rose, this was a conflict since there is a quota, secondly was a subsidy of government anymore, thirdly there are some serious control mechanisms to buy a certain amount of seed and dangerous chemicals. Furthermore, agro-industry production had a negative impact on the small size petty commodity producers, unfortunately, many are not able to continue and drop out. Another essential problem is that instead of using sugar beets, an alternative such as fructose and glucose was used in goods we consume. Regarding that fact, this may lead to obesity and gaining weight as a society. So to sum up, I would say that traditional farming is the safest way for us human beings.

In conclusion, even though I strongly support change in a positive direction, we should consider all aspects when making vital decisions affecting us all as a strong nation. I feel that agriculture is improving as I talked about in my reflection paper. Farmers and international companies should work as a unit, in order to for both sides to benefit from the situation after all. To be honest, I do believe that control in this aspect is important because it is influencing the country in economic ways. Moreover, the health of one individual should always be kept first no matter what is the cost. I will not dismiss the perks that the transformation of the rural has good facets, considering the poor sides also in the end.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Dickens, P. (2000). Society, Space and the Biotic Level: An Urban and Rural Sociology for the New Millennium. Sociology, 34(1), 147-164. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/42856157
  • Keyder Ç. 1983. “Paths for Rural Transformation in Turkey”. The Journal of Peasant Studies. 11(1): 34-49.
  • Rüthers, B. (1988). Zeitgeist und Recht. Zeitschrift Für Rechtspolitik, 21(8), 283-285. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/23421048