There are major obstacles to perceiving the nature and the extent of rural poverty in developing countries. These obstacles originate not only in the nature of rural poverty itself, but also in the condition of those, not themselves of the rural poor, who do or, more significantly, do not perceive that poverty. The argument has implications for all rural development programs and projects, and for the training of staff. The conclusion is that reversals of current positions and practices are required if the obstacles are to be surmounted, if the nature and the extent of rural poverty are to be truly appreciated, and if future actions are to be tailored to the actual needs of the rural poor. 49 references.