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    STUDIA GEOGRAPHIA - Issue no. 2 / 2002  

Authors:  J. BENEDEK.
  Abstract:  The subsistence agriculture and the rural development in Romania. The agricultural sector of the postrevolutionary Romania has been the subject of many economical, social and regional debates, more or less of a recent date. Most of the studies have emphasized the growing subsistence nature and character of this sector. One of the major causes of this particular situation has been the continuous shift between the Romanian economy sectors, the major trend being continuous "agriculturalisation" of the economical life. According to this situation the number of agricultural households has grown steadily, the process being followed by an acute leveling process and pauperisation of rural population. The scientific target of the study is not the description de facto of the present situation, which is quite well known, but a subcomponent analysis of the Romanian agrarian world in all its complexity on the basis of socio-economical typology of the rural households. Also I will try to emphasize the non-agricultural sectors that may be good alternatives for the reactivation of the rural space because, as I have stressed with other occasions (BENEDEK, 2000a), the key to the agrarian problem may lie in the non-agricultural sectors: development of industry and services along the creation of more viable economical structures in agriculture. Regarding the households formed by the head of the family as farmer and the rest of the family members as commuters working in the secondary and tertiary sectors (off-farm activities), are in most cases market-oriented, having relatively high levels of productivity and an average farm size between 5 and 10 hectares. The overall situation of these particular types of households on the labour market is rather good as their income is obtained following non-agricultural activities as well as through selling of agricultural products on the market. The inactive households with unemployed account for a large proportion of the market oriented households as well. The difference is that in this case the average cultivated surface is smaller and the agricultural input has medium values. In fact, this household type forms a transitory position towards the household with active individuals, because the position of unemployed is only active in the period of the social assistance, so the term is only of statistical nature, these individuals being in fact part of the active agricultural population. In conclusion, the emergence and deepening of the subsistence character of the Romanian agriculture has to be set in the context of social and political changes that took place after 1989. The cause of this situation is mainly the restructuring process undergone by the socialist industry and mining that produced an excess of work force that was canalized towards agriculture, the services sector being not very well developed and concentrated in large urban settlements. The process is highlighted by an increase of active population number in agriculture from 28,9% in 1991 to 36% in 1998. Basically the reconstruction of the rural space, as mentioned before, has to be based on two main strongholds: the emergence of large, market-oriented structures in agriculture and development of non-agricultural activities in the rural areas, respectively. These two processes have to start simultaneously in order to absorb the working force surplus due to the changes in other sectors of the economy. We estimate that the process is bound to be a very difficult one, because, most rural settlements lack the most basic infrastructure elements that are absolutely necessary in the process of rural development.  
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