Subsistence agriculture

Subsistence agriculture occurs when farmers grow food crops to feed themselves and their families. In subsistence agriculture, farm output is targeted to survival and is mostly for local requirements with little or no surplus trade. The typical subsistence farm has a range of crops and animals needed by the family to feed and clothe themselves during the year. Planting decisions are made principally with an eye toward what the family will need during the coming year, and secondarily toward market prices. Tony Waters[1] writes: "Subsistence peasants are people who grow what they eat, build their own houses, and live without regularly making purchases in the marketplace."

Despite the primacy of self-sufficiency in subsistence farming, today most subsistence farmers also participate in trade to some degree, though usually it is for goods that are not necessary for survival, and may include sugar, iron roofing sheets, bicycles, used clothing, and so forth. Most subsistence farmers today reside in developing countries, although their amount of trade as measured in cash is less than that of consumers in countries with modern complex markets, many have important trade contacts and trade items that they can produce because of their special skills or special access to resources valued in the marketplace.[2]

Bakweri cocoyam farmer from Cameroon
A Bakweri farmer working on his taro field on the slopes of Mount Cameroon.

History

Subsistence agriculture emerged in various areas including Mexico where it was based on maize and in the Andes where it was based on the domestication of the potato. Subsistence agriculture was the dominant mode of production in the world until recently, when market-based capitalism became widespread. Subsistence horticulture may have developed independently in South East Asia and Papua New Guinea.

Subsistence agriculture had largely disappeared in Europe by the beginning of World War I, and in North America with the movement of sharecroppers and tenant farmers out of the American South and Midwest during the 1930s and 1940s.[1] As recently as the 1950s, it was still common on family farms in North America and Europe to grow much of a family's own food and make much of its own clothing, although sales of some of the farm's production earned enough currency to buy certain staples, typically including sugar; coffee and tea; petroleum distillates (petrol, kerosene, fuel oil); textile products such as bolts of cloth, needles, and thread; medicines; hardware products such as nails, screws, and wire; and a few discretionary items such as candy or books. Many of the preceding items, as well as occasional services from physicians, veterinarians, blacksmiths, and others, were often bought with barter rather than currency. In Central and Eastern Europe subsistence and semi-subsistence agriculture reappeared within the transition economy since about 1990.[3]

Contemporary practices

Subsistence farming continues today in large parts of rural Africa,[4] and parts of Asia and Latin America. In 2015, about 2 billion people (slightly more than 25% of the world's population) in 500 million households living in rural areas of developing nations survive as "smallholder" farmers, working less than 2 hectares (5 acres) of land.[5]

Types of subsistence farming

Shifting agriculture

In this type of agriculture, a patch of forest land is cleared by a combination of felling and burning, and crops are grown. After 2–3 years the fertility of the soil begins to decline, the land is abandoned and the farmer moves to clear a fresh piece of land elsewhere in the forest as the process continues. While the land is left fallow the forest regrows in the cleared area and soil fertility and biomass is restored. After a decade or more, the farmer may return to the first piece of land. This form of agriculture is sustainable at low population densities, but higher population loads require more frequent clearing which prevents soil fertility from recovering, opens up more of the forest canopy, and encourages scrub at the expense of large trees, eventually resulting in deforestation and land erosion.[6] Shifting cultivation is called Dredd in India, Ladang in Indonesia, Milpa in Central America and Mexico and Jhumming in North East India.

Primitive agriculture

While this 'slash-and-burn' technique may describe the method for opening new land, commonly the farmers in question have in existence at the same time smaller fields, sometimes merely gardens, near the homestead there they practice intensive 'non-shifting" techniques until shortage of fields where they can employ "slash and burn" to clear land and (by the burning) provide fertilizer (ash). Such gardens nearer the homestead often regularly receive household refuse, the manure of any household chickens or goats, and compost piles where refuse is thrown initially just to get it out of the way. However, such farmers often recognize the value of such compost and apply it regularly to their smaller fields. They also may irrigate part of such fields if they are near a source of water.

In some areas of tropical Africa, at least, such smaller fields may be ones in which crops are grown on raised beds. Thus farmers practicing 'slash and burn' agriculture are often much more sophisticated agriculturalists than the term "slash and burn" subsistence farmers suggests.

Nomadic herding

In this type of farming people migrate along with their animals from one place to another in search of fodder for their animals. Generally they rear cattle, sheep, goats, camels and/or yaks for milk, skin, meat and wool. This way of life is common in parts of central and western Asia, India, east and south-west Africa and northern Eurasia. Examples are the nomadic Bhotiyas and Gujjars of the Himalayas. They carry their belongings, such as tents, etc.., on the backs of donkeys, horses, and camels. In mountainous regions, like Tibet and The Andes, Yak and Llama are reared. Reindeer are the livestock in arctic and sub-arctic areas. Sheep, goats, and camels are common animals, and cattle and horses are also important..

Intensive subsistence farming

In intensive subsistence agriculture, the farmer cultivates a small plot of land using simple tools and more labor. Climate, with large number of days with sunshine and fertile soils permits growing of more than one crop annually on the same plot. Farmers use their small land holdings to produce enough, for their local consumption, while remaining produce is used for exchange against other goods. It results in much more food being produced per acre compared to other subsistence patterns. In the most intensive situation, farmers may even create terraces along steep hillsides to cultivate rice paddies. Such fields are found in densely populated parts of Asia, such as in The Philippines. They may also intensify by using manure, artificial irrigation and animal waste as fertilizer. Intensive subsistence farming is prevalent in the thickly populated areas of the monsoon regions of south, southwest, and southeast Asia.

Poverty alleviation

Subsistence agriculture can be used as a poverty alleviation strategy, specifically as a safety net for food-price shocks and for food security. Poor countries are limited in fiscal and institutional resources that would allow them to contain rises in domestic prices as well as to manage social assistance programs, which is often because they are using policy tools that are intended for middle- and high-income countries.[7] Low-income countries tend to have populations in which 80% of poor are in rural areas and more than 90% of rural households have access to land, yet a majority of these rural poor have insufficient access to food.[7] Subsistence agriculture can be used in low-income countries as a part of policy responses to a food crisis in the short and medium term, and provide a safety net for the poor in these countries.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Tony Waters. The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture: life beneath the level of the marketplace. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 2007.
  2. ^ Marvin P Miracle, "Subsistence Agriculture: Analytical Problems and Alternative Concepts", American Journal of Agricultural Economics, May 1968, pp. 292–310.
  3. ^ Steffen Abele and Klaus Frohberg (Eds.). "Subsistence Agriculture in Central and Eastern Europe: How to Break the Vicious Circle?" Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Central and Eastern Europe. IAMO, 2003. Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Goran Hyden. Beyond Ujamaa in Tanzania: Underdevelopment and an Uncaptured Peasantry. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1980.
  5. ^ Rapsomanikis, George (2015). "The economic lives of smallholder farmers" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations  . p. 9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2018-01-11. About two-thirds of the developing world’s 3 billion rural people live in about 475 million small farm households, working on land plots smaller than 2 hectares.
  6. ^ "Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment (AGR ECOSYST ENVIRON)". Soil erosion from shifting cultivation and other smallholder land use in Sarawak, Malaysia. 4.42.
  7. ^ a b c de Janvry, Alain; Sadoulet, Elisabeth (2011-06-01). "Subsistence farming as a safety net for food-price shocks". Development in Practice. 21 (4–5): 472–480. doi:10.1080/09614524.2011.561292. ISSN 0961-4524.

Further reading

Caiçaras

Caiçaras are the traditional inhabitants of the coastal regions of the southeastern and southern Brazil. They form a distinct group of people, descended from indigenous people, Europeans and Africans.

Their traditional way of life based on subsistence agriculture, hunting and fishing is threatened by real estate speculation, restrictive laws and declining fish stocks.

Divisaderos

Divisaderos the municipal seat of Divisaderos Municipality of the Mexican state of Sonora. It is located at 29°36′N 109°28′W, about 20 mi/30 km SE of Moctezuma. Access is by an unpaved road to Moctezuma and Sahuaripa. Almost all he inhabitants live in the municipal seat, which lies at an elevation of 850 m.

The economy is based on subsistence agriculture of corn and beans as well as cattle-raising, especially to export of calves to the United States.

Francisco Badaró

Francisco Badaró is a municipality in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. As of 1997 the population was 10,269 in a total area of 463 km². The elevation of the town center is 377 meters. It is part of the IBGE statistical mesoregion of Jequitinhonha and the micro-region of Capelinha. It became a municipality in 1962.

The economy is based on cattle raising and subsistence agriculture, with the main crops being beans, manioc, sugarcane, and corn.

Neighboring municipalities are: [Berilo, Jenipapo de Minas, Virgem da Lapa, Chapada do Norte, Araçuaí]. The distance to Belo Horizonte is 723 km.

Granados, Sonora

Granados is the municipal seat of Granados Municipality in the northeast of the Mexican state of Sonora. The municipal area is 361.27 km2, and the population was 1,235 in 2000 (3.48 inhabitants/km2). By 2005 the population had decreased to 938 due to emigration due to insufficient educational infrastructure and the lack of job opportunities. The population of the municipal seat was 1,228 according to the 2000 census.The terrain is mountainous and the average annual temperature is 19 °C. The rainy season is from July to September and the average annual rainfall is 485.9 mm.

Subsistence agriculture and cattle raising are the main economic activities. The main crops are corn and beans and grasses for fodder. Calves are exported to the United States of America.

The town was named after Don José Joaquín Granados y Gálvez, second bishop of Sonora from 1788 to 1794.

José Gonçalves de Minas

José Gonçalves de Minas (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒo'zɛ gõ'sawvis ʤi 'minɐs]) is a municipality in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. As of 2007 the population was 4,547 in a total area of 382 km². The elevation of the town center is 546 meters. It is part of the IBGE statistical meso-region of Jequitinhonha and the micro-region of Capelinha. It became a municipality in 1997.

The economy is based on charcoal production, cattle raising and subsistence agriculture, with the main crops being beans, manioc, sugarcane, and corn. There are extensive plantations of eucalyptus trees for charcoal production. In 2005 there were 254 rural producers but only 8 tractors. As of 2005 there were 3 public health clinics, none of which were equipped for diagnosis or general treatment. Educational needs were met by 6 primary schools and 1 middle school. There were 92 automobiles in 2006, giving a ratio of 50 inhabitants per automobile (there were 366 motorcycles). There were no banks in 2007.Neighboring municipalities are: Cristália, Grão Mogol, Virgem da Lapa, Berilo, Francisco Badaró, Chapada do Norte, Leme do Prado, and Botumirim. The distance to Belo Horizonte is 529 km.

Machacalis

Machacalis is a Brazilian municipality located in the northeast of the state of Minas Gerais. Its population as of 2007 was 6,855 living in a total area of 329 km². The city belongs to the statistical mesoregion of Vale do Mucuri and to the statistical microregion of Nanuque. It became a municipality in 1954. Machacalis is located at an elevation of 285 metres 18 kilometres west of the state boundary with Bahia. The nearest major population centre is Teófilo Otoni. The population lived mainly in the rural areas.

The distance to Teófilo Otoni is 210 km; and the distance to the state capital, Belo Horizonte, is 636 km. Neighboring municipalities are: Águas Formosas, Fronteira dos Vales, Santa Helena de Minas, Bertópolis, Umburatiba and Crisólita. The main economic activities are services, and subsistence agriculture. The GDP in 2005 was R$23 million, with 15 million from services, 1 million from industry, and 5 million from agriculture. There were 308 rural producers on 27,000 hectares of land. Only 11 farms had tractors (2006). 4,000 persons were dependent on agriculture. The main crops were coconuts, sugarcane, beans, and corn. There were 33,000 head of cattle (2006). There was 1 bank (2007) and 270 automobiles (235 motorcycles), giving a ratio of 25 inhabitants per automobile.

The social indicators rank it in the bottom tier of municipalities in the state.

Municipal Human Development Index: 0.637 (2000)

State ranking: 772 out of 853 municipalities as of 2000

National ranking: 3,980 out of 5,138 municipalities as of 2000

Literacy rate: 72%

Life expectancy: 63 (average of males and females)The highest ranking municipality in Minas Gerais in 2000 was Poços de Caldas with 0.841, while the lowest was Setubinha with 0.568. Nationally the highest was São Caetano do Sul in São Paulo with 0.919, while the lowest was Setubinha. In more recent statistics (considering 5,507 municipalities) Manari in the state of Pernambuco has the lowest rating in the country--0,467--putting it in last place.There were 3 health clinics and 1 hospital with 58 beds (2006). Patients with more serious health conditions are transported to Teófilo Otoni. Educational needs were met by 5 primary schools, 1 middle school, and 2 pre-primary schools.

Mandoul Region

Mandoul is one of the 23 regions of Chad. Located in the south of the country, it comprises part of the former prefecture of Moyen-Chari. The regional capital is Koumra.

The main products are subsistence agriculture and cotton.

Minas Novas

Minas Novas is a municipality in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. In 2007, the population was 30,578 in a total area of 1,810 km². The elevation of the urban area is 635 meters. It is part of the IBGE statistical meso-region of Jequitinhonha and the micro-region of Capelinha. It became a municipality in 1730.

The economy is based on cattle raising, services and subsistence agriculture, with the main crops being coffee, rice, beans, sugarcane and corn. There were plantations of eucalyptus trees for charcoal production. In 2005, there were 3,367 rural producers but only 19 tractors. 10,500 persons were dependent on agriculture. In 2005, there were ten public health clinics, one of them carrying out diagnosis and complete therapy. There was one hospital with 69 beds. Educational needs were met by 68 primary schools, five middle schools and ten nursery schools. There were 867 automobiles in 2006, giving a ratio of 35 inhabitants per automobile (there were 1,290 motorcycles). There was one bank in 2007.Neighboring municipalities are Capelinha, Chapada do Norte, Leme do Prado, Novo Cruzeiro, Setubinha, Turmalina and Virgem da Lapa. The distance to Belo Horizonte is 500 km.

Otuho people

The Otuho people, also known as the Lotuko or Latuka, are a Nilotic ethnic group whose traditional home is the Eastern Equatoria state of South Sudan. Their population is around 241,000.

The Lotuko are bordered by the Lokoro in the North, the Bari on the West, the Acholi and the Madi in the South, and the Didinga and the Boya in the East. Their region is characterized by ranges and mountain spurs such as the Imotong mountain, the highest mountain in South Sudan with an altitude of 10,453 ft above sea level. It is divided into 5 major sub-regions: Imatong, Valley, Dongotolo, Lopit, and the Great Plains.

As agro-pastoralists, they keep large herds of cattle, sheep and goats, and supplement this with hoe-farming, hunting, and fishing. They engage in some subsistence agriculture; their main crops are sorghum, ground nuts, simsim (sesame), and maize in the plains, or telebun, dukhn, sweet potatoes, and tobacco in the hills.The Murle people have recently raided the Lokuto, the Lopit, and other tribes in the area, abducting their children.Land is owned by no single person, but in trust by the community. In the mountains, after finding a site, the group decides the boundaries of each person's garden, with certain areas being fallow (for up to 10 years) and others open to cultivation (for up to 4 years).

Ouaddaï Region

Ouaddaï (Arabic: وداي‎) is one of the 23 regions of Chad and its capital is Abéché. It was created in 2002 from the former Ouaddaï Prefecture. Its main ethnic groups are the Arab people and the Maba. The economy is based on subsistence agriculture.

In 2008, a portion of the Ouaddaï region (the Sila Department and Djourf Al Ahmar Department) was split off to become the new Sila Region (also known as Dar Sila).

Padre Paraíso

Padre Paraíso is a Brazilian municipality located in the northeast of the state of Minas Gerais. Its population as of 2007 was estimated to be 18,120 people living in a total area of 543 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion of Jequitinhonha and to the microregion of Araçuaí. It became a municipality in 1962.

Padre Paraíso is located on the Rio-Bahia highway (BR-116) at an elevation of 664 meters (center of the town). The climate is semi-arid and the region is mountainous.

The economy is based on cattle raising, services, and subsistence agriculture, with the main crops being coffee, beans, manioc, sugarcane, and corn. The cattle herd had 8,000 head in 2006. In 2005 there were 639 rural producers but only 7 tractors. 2,100 persons were dependent on agriculture. As of 2005 there were 17 health clinics and 1 private hospital with 42 beds. Educational needs were met by 23 primary schools, 3 middle schools and 4 nursery schools. There were 959 automobiles in 2006, giving a ratio of 17 inhabitants per automobile (there were 790 motorcycles). There was 1 bank in 2007.Neighboring municipalities are: Ponto dos Volantes - Caraí - Araçuaí. The distance to Belo Horizonte is 542 km. The distance to the nearest major population center, Teófilo Otoni is 94 km.

Social IndicatorsPadre Paraíso is ranked low on the MHDI and was one of the poorest municipalities in the state and in the country in 2000.

MHDI: .656 (2000)

State ranking: 726 out of 853 municipalities

National ranking: 3,673 out of 5,138 municipalities in 2000

Life expectancy: 67

Literacy rate: 70

Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio: .774

Per capita income (monthly): R$94.00 The above figures can be compared with those of Poços de Caldas, which had an MHDI of .841, the highest in the state of Minas Gerais. The highest in the country was São Caetano do Sul in the state of São Paulo with an MHDI of .919. The lowest was Manari in the state of Pernambuco with an MHDI of .467 out of a total of 5504 municipalities in the country as of 2004. At last count Brazil had 5,561 municipalities so this might have changed at the time of this writing.

San Miguel de Horcasitas

San Miguel de Horcasitas is a town in San Miguel de Horcasitas Municipality, in the Mexican state of Sonora. San Miguel is located in the center of the state at an elevation of 518 meters.

The settlement was founded in 1749 as a military fort. The name is in honor of the Vicerey of New Spain, Don Juan Francisco de Güemez y Horcasitas, first Count of Revillagigedo, who was governing New Spain at the time. After 1777, the governor and captain general of the provinces of Sonora and Sinaloa had his residence here.

In 1814 it became a town (ayuntamiento), one of the first in the state.

The economy is based on cattle raising and subsistence agriculture.

Suaqui Grande

Suaqui Grande is a town in Suaqui Grande Municipality, in the eastern region of the Mexican state of Sonora. It was founded in 1620 by the missionary Martín Burgencio.

The main economic activities are cattle raising, growing of grass for cattle feed and subsistence agriculture.

Subsistence economy

A subsistence economy is a non-monetary economy which relies on natural resources to provide for basic needs, through hunting, gathering, and subsistence agriculture. "Subsistence" means supporting oneself at a minimum level; in a subsistence economy, economic surplus is minimal and only used to trade for basic goods, and there is no industrialization.In the history of the world, before the first cities, all humans lived in a subsistence economy. As urbanization, civilization, and division of labor spread, various societies moved to other economic systems at various times. Some remain relatively unchanged, ranging from uncontacted peoples, to poor areas of developing countries, to some cultures that choose to retain a traditional economy.

Capital can be generally defined as assets invested with the expectation that their value will increase, usually because there is the expectation of profit, rent, interest, royalties, capital gain or some other kind of return. However, this type of economy cannot usually become wealthy by virtue of the system, and instead requires further investments to stimulate economic growth. In other words, a subsistence economy only possesses enough goods to be used by a particular nation to maintain its existence and provides little to no surplus for other investments.

Tacuate

The Tacuate are an indigenous people of Mexico who live in the state of Oaxaca. The Tacuate language is one of the Mixtec languages; in 2010, there were 1,500 speakers.Most of the people are engaged in subsistence agriculture, with some keeping cattle and goats, and with women producing textile crafts for a source of cash.

Land tenure is usually communal.

The Tacuate live in two municipalities in the Mixteca de la Costa area: Santa María Zacatepec in the Putla district and Santiago Ixtayutla in the Jamiltepec district.

Turmalina, Minas Gerais

Turmalina is a municipality in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. As of 2007 the population was 17,219 in a total area of 1,153 km². The elevation of the urban area is 718 meters. It is part of the IBGE statistical meso-region of Jequitinhonha and the micro-region of Capelinha. It became a municipality in 1949.

The economy is based on cattle raising, services, and subsistence agriculture, with the main crops being coffee, rice, beans, sugarcane, and corn. There were plantations of eucalyptus trees for charcoal production. In 2005 there were 1,053 rural producers but only 18 tractors. 3,900 persons were dependent on agriculture. As of 2005 there were 13 public health clinics, with 1 of them carrying out diagnosis and complete therapy. There was one hospital with 72 beds. Educational needs were met by 17 primary schools, 3 middle schools and 2 nursery schools. There were 1,101 automobiles in 2006, giving a ratio of 17 inhabitants per automobile (there were 1,988 motorcycles). There was one bank in 2007.Neighboring municipalities are: Bocaiúva, Botumirim, Capelinha, Carbonita, Leme do Prado, Minas Novas and Veredinha. The distance to Belo Horizonte is 500 km.Social Indicators

Turmalina is ranked in the middle on the MHDI and was in the middle tier of the municipalities in the state and in the country in 2000.

MHDI: .705 (2000)

State ranking: 524 out of 853 municipalities

National ranking: 2,913 out of 5,138 municipalities in 2000

Life expectancy: 71

Literacy rate: 77

Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio: .758

Per capita income (monthly): R$125.00

Infant mortality rate: 3.15 The above figures can be compared with those of Poços de Caldas, which had an MHDI of .841, the highest in the state of Minas Gerais. The highest in the country was São Caetano do Sul in the state of São Paulo with an MHDI of .919. The lowest was Manari in the state of Pernambuco with an MHDI of .467 out of a total of 5504 municipalities in the country as of 2004. At last count Brazil had 5,561 municipalities so this might have changed at the time of this writing.

Veredinha

Veredinha is a municipality in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. As of 2007 the population was 5,732 in a total area of 635 km². The elevation of the urban area is 635 meters. It is part of the IBGE statistical meso-region of Jequitinhonha and the micro-region of Capelinha. It became a municipality in 1995.

The economy is based on cattle raising, services, and subsistence agriculture, with the main crops being coffee, rice, beans, sugarcane, and corn. There were plantations of eucalyptus trees for charcoal production. In 2005 there were 667 rural producers but only 10 tractors. 1,900 persons were dependent on agriculture. As of 2005 there were 4 public health clinics, with none of them carrying out diagnosis and complete therapy. There were no hospitals. Educational needs were met by 7 primary schools, 2 middle schools and 2 nursery schools. There were 192 automobiles in 2006, giving a ratio of 28 inhabitants per automobile (there were 428 motorcycles). There were no banks in 2007.Neighboring municipalities are: Turmalina, Itamarandiba, Carbonita, Minas Novas and Capelinha. The distance to Belo Horizonte is 496 km.Veredinha is ranked low on the MHDI and was one of the poorest municipalities in the state and in the country in 2000.

Virgem da Lapa

Virgem da Lapa (Portuguese pronunciation: [vih'ʒẽj̃ da 'lapɐ]) is a Brazilian municipality located in the northeast of the state of Minas Gerais. Its population as of 2007 was estimated to be 14,103 people living in a total area of 871 km2 (336 sq mi). The city belongs to the mesoregion of Jequitinhonha and to the microregion of Araçuaí. It became a municipality in 1948.

Virgem da Lapa is located just on the left bank (north) of the Jequitinhonha River at an elevation of 385 meters (center of the town). The climate is semi-arid and the region suffers from periodic drought.

The economy is based on cattle raising, services, and subsistence agriculture, with the main crops being rice, beans, manioc, sugarcane, and corn. The cattle herd had 14,000 head in 2006. In 2005 there were 1858 rural producers but only 14 tractors among them. 6,200 persons were dependent on agriculture--almost half of the population. As of 2005 there were 5 health clinics and 1 public hospital with 42 beds. Educational needs were met by 24 primary schools, 2 middle schools and 3 nursery schools. There were 492 automobiles in 2006, giving a ratio of 29 inhabitants per automobile (there were 675 motorcycles). There was 1 bank in 2007.Neighboring municipalities are: Rubelita - Coronel Murta - Araçuaí - Berilo - José Gonçalves de Minas - Josenópolis. The distance to Belo Horizonte is 716 km (445 mi). The distance to the nearest major population center, Araçuaí is 38 km (24 mi).Social Indicators

Virgem da Lapa is ranked low on the MHDI and was one of the poorest municipalities in the state and in the country in 2000.

MHDI: .664 (2000)

State ranking: 696 out of 853 municipalities

National ranking: 3,549 out of 5,138 municipalities in 2000

Life expectancy: 67

Literacy rate: 72

Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio: .740

Per capita income (monthly): R$107.00The above figures can be compared with those of Poços de Caldas, which had an MHDI of .841, the highest in the state of Minas Gerais. The highest in the country was São Caetano do Sul in the state of São Paulo with an MHDI of .919. The lowest was Manari in the state of Pernambuco with an MHDI of .467 out of a total of 5504 municipalities in the country as of 2004. At last count Brazil had 5,561 municipalities so this might have changed at the time of this writing.

Webuye

Webuye, previously named Broderick Falls, is an industrial town in Bungoma County, Kenya. Located on the main road to Uganda, the town is home to the Pan African Paper Mills, the largest paper factory in the region, as well as a number of heavy-chemical and sugar manufacturers. The area is heavily populated and is used mainly for subsistence agriculture. The area around Webuye is home to the Bukusu and Tachoni tribes. The town has an urban population of 19,600 (1999 census) and 22,507 in total according to the GeoNames geographical database.

Villages near Webuye include Lugulu, Milo, Maraka and Misikhu. Webuye is home to the Broderick Falls of the river Nzoia. In maraka, there exists the famed "mfunje" suspension bridge which consists of rickety timber strips joined together with some metal wires, precariously dangling across River nzoia. It attracts a considerable number of both local and foreign tourists who enjoy the thrill of crossing the river on the shaky locally-made bridge.

Webuye has in the recent past also seen the establishment of some important education centres, including a constituent college campus of the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, and a Kenya Medical Training college Campus. The town's economy was hit hard by the dwindling fortunes of Pan African Paper Mills, which was closed down in 2008. Efforts have been put in place by successive regimes since then to reopen the paper mill, but without success.

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