The surplus’, serving as a ‘handmaiden’ to the ‘engine’

The main principle from Lewis (1954) is that agriculture
can function as a reservoir of surplus labour, especially in cases of
population growth, and for as long as surplus labour exists, growth will occur
rapidly by investment in industry. Hirschman (1958) and Scitivsky (1954)
determined that agriculture is a source ‘labour abundance supply’ and source of
‘transferable surplus’, serving as a ‘handmaiden’ to the ‘engine’ of growth, but
this is not applicable to Kenya’s case. In these ‘development strategies’,
growth seems to occur without the creation of benefits for workers, since wages
are not responsive to employment creation in industry due to surplus labour,
thus, labour is just a cost on growth, never a benefit in creating effective
demand for industry(Hewlett, S. and Lipton, M. (1977). Thus, Lipton
(1993) would, argue that economic growth is not just a matter of a ‘seamless’
transfer of labour from a ‘backward’ agricultural sector to a ‘progressive’
industry, rather, a successful development process should involve the related
transformation in the agriculture sector so it becomes integrated into
industry. Only within the last decade have economists acknowledged agricultures
potential to generate enough demand to stimulate industrialisation and
development (Diao et al,2010). Although some African countries have potential
sources of economic growth outside of agriculture, growth in the industrial
sectors, in the short- to medium-term, is unlikely to be substantial enough to
contribute to development and alleviate poverty (Diao et al,2010).

From
the view of a development strategy, one of the most important features
highlighted by Hirschman (1958) is the degree to which an industry is able to
create demand for products in other industries (this phenomenon is called a
‘linkage’), however, Hirschman (1958) believed that agricultures weak linkages
fail to induce substantial capital accumulation, therefore, it cannot be the
leading sector for developmental progress. In fact, Kenya’s agricultural
sectors contribute 26% of GDP and another 27% of GDP through indirect linkages
with other sectors (FAO, 2016). Adelman, 1984 highlights the successes of a
balanced-growth strategy, through the development of agriculture with industry
linkages, which led to what is called the ‘agricultural-demand- led-industrialization
(ADLI). Indeed, Kenya’s Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (ASDS) and
‘Vision 2030’ represent a departure from previous growth policies that have
failed to appreciate agricultures institutional and structural changes for
economic growth and instead, however, poor attempts have been made to steer the
agricultural low-income economy towards more self-sustaining and equitable
growth paths as ADLI strategies achieved in South East Asia (FAO, 2014; Timme

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