Sustainable rural development index

Please cite the paper as:
Luís A. Cadoná, Renan C.Umburanas, Pedro Abel Vieira Junior, and Durval Dourado Neto, (2016), Sustainable rural development index, World Economics Association (WEA) Conferences, No. 2 2016, Food and Justice, 5th November to 15th December 2016


The Sustainable Rural Development Index (IDRS) was elaborated with the purpose of characterizing, in the rural space (predominantly occupied by agriculture and livestock), the economical (IDE), social (IDS) and environmental (IDA) development through three primary indexes, seven secondary indexes and seven parameters. The secondary indexes were computed using the mean values of different parameters, by county, trough normalized variables (range from 0 to 1). The economical index used the following normalized variables: Gross Income Product (R$.county-1.year-1) (first parameter), per capita income (R$.person-1.year-1) (second parameter) (in relation to their maximum values for a specific county). The social index used relative values of scholarity (number of years) (third parameter), life expectance (years) (fourth parameter) and employment level (%) (fifth parameter) (also in relation to their maximum values for a specific county). The environmental index used relative values of Legal Reserve area (ha) (sixth parameter), as well as the Permanent Preservation Area (ha) (seventh parameter), actually used by farmers and the correspondent minimum areas required by the Brazilian law 12.651 (published at DOU in 25 May 2012). The universal model, that typically presents exponential growth, was proposed for computing the secondary index (dependent variable) using a normalized variable as independent variable. This methodology was applied for characterizing the CODEMAU (Association for Developing the ‘Médio Alto Uruguai’ region) area (23 counties), located at North region of ‘Rio Grande do Sul’ State. It was verified that: (i) ‘Rodeio Bonito’ and ‘Dois Irmãos das Missões’, ‘Alpestre’ and ‘Frederico Westphalen’, and ‘Vicente Dutra’ and ‘Taquaruçu do Sul’ were the counties that presented, respectively, the lowest and highest values of IDE, IDS and IDA; but, (ii) ‘Vicente Dutra’ and ‘Dois Irmãos das Missões’ were the counties that presented, respectively, the lowest and highest values of IDRS. The sustainable rural development index presents as an excellent tool for comparing regions (rural properties, counties, states and countries, for example).

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Recent comments


5 comment


    Really , I appreciate the idea of IDRS , as find its an unique tool for measuring & comparing the agricultural development.

    I am curious to know about one of the impotent aspect i.e. PRODUCTIVITY ? which is in fact v imp aspect for Developing Countries like India,
    Whether , this aspect has been incorporated in IDRS?


    • Pedro Abel Vieira says:

      Dear Amitabh.
      I think you are referring to the productivity of the land. This parameter was not considered directly, however, it affects two parameters considered: i) rural gross domestic product index and ii) per capita income rate in rural areas.
      Feel free to include the productivities (land, labor and capital).

  • Saeed Hoque says:

    I would like to bring your attention to a book by Drs. David and Marcia Pimentel, 2008, titles, “Food, Energy and Society”. Drs. have included a lot of calculations on energy out vs energy in of many types of crops grown around the world.

    Permaculture is one of the surest way to increase the input output ratio while achieving long term sustainability. It is through proper design of ecosystem that works with nature, and not against nature. There is a price for all the stupidity of conventional farming that has fed poisonous foods the world over for the last 70 years, and there is no quick fixes to switch over to a more sustainable future.

    There is a video on YouTube about Loess Plateau in China…how over a 10 year period this degraded plateau was converted to something sustainable that raised the income of the inhabitants of the people by several times.

    Another book, “Field Guide to Appropriate Technology” by Prof Barry Hazeltine and Christopher Hull, 2003.

  • Henry de-Graft Acquah says:

    Dear Authors,

    Excellent tool. What are the weakness or limitations of the Sustainable Rural Development Index?
    Can IDRS be calculated for different groups within the rural space – say different ethnic groups and gender?

    • Pedro Abel Vieira says:

      Yes, IDRS can be calculated for different groups within a rural space, provided that data are available. Data availability, this is the main limitation of IDRS. If data are available, you can change or include parameters what how you prefer.