Many Latin American countries are increasingly shifting their efforts toward developing rural areas. The general aim is to relieve the situation in depressed regions, to offset migratory pressures on urban centers, and to accelerate the transition from subsistence farming to modern agriculture. The deterioration of economic conditions and consequent migration to urban centers is often faster than the modernization of agriculture. The very center-periphery relationship between town and countryside may be a key factor in rural retardation in Latin America. The vital role of agriculture has been summed up as "expanded food, expanded markets and an expanded supply of funds to the modern sector". The rate of improvement in agriculture is among the principal indicators listed by economists in appraising economic growth. Agricultural development is usually viewed as a short-term transitional phase of economic growth rather than a way of life.