The traditional rural family lived on and from the land which provided food, fuel, water and often clothing and shelter as well. They were secure when their hold on the land was secure, and when the land delivered what it promised. Bad landlords, bad government or bad weather meant deprivation and often famine.
For many rural families, those times have gone, for better or worse. Fertilizers, flood control and irrigation remove some of the uncertainties from farming, but the small farmer still finds it hard to survive in the cash economy. Population growth, environmental damage and commercial farming mean that many rural people are landless and depend on cash wages. More and more they look to the cities for a livelihood, by their own efforts or those of their children.
If they stay on the land, they look for ways to produce more and sell more. The rural areas around cities, even small cities in predominantly rural areas, offer urban markets.
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