THE INFLUENCE OF GOVERNMENT POLICIES ON LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN WEST ASIA AND NORTH AFRICA (WANA)PETER ORAM
Research Fellow Emeritus, IFPRI, Washington D. C., USA
The paper reviews the dynamics of change in the WANA region over the last forty years, with a particular focus on their impact on agricultural policy, the livestock sector, and the environment in the Mashreq and Maghreb (M&M) countries of the region, for which recent information is available from an ongoing project.
This project, which is supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), involves two international research centers - the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), in close collaboration with national biological and social scientists from those eight countries. 1 Its principal goal is to find ways of reconciling growth, poverty alleviation, and sustainable natural resource management in the low rainfall farming areas of those countries with mean annual precipitation (MAP) below 400 mm, the steppe rangelands with MAP below 200 mm, and the upland watersheds.
These zones which cover a huge area, including a significant share of the arable land, and virtually all of the natural grazings in those countries (Table 1), are at high risk from climatic hazards, and represent the main locus of rural poverty. Livestock, particularly small ruminants, have a pivotal social and economic role in land use, farming systems, and employment there, and are the mainstay of family income and savings from agriculture. Livestock also contribute significantly to the national economies, representing between 30 percent and 35 percent of agricultural GDP in the eight countries.
Nevertheless, their governments, faced with large food and feed imports to meet the needs of rapidly growing populations, have given priority in research and investment policies to the higher rainfall areas, and particularly to the expansion of irrigation. Support to agriculture in the low rainfall areas has been mainly aimed at mitigating the impact on the ruminant livestock sector of the frequent droughts which are endemic to the dominant semi-arid winter rainfall Mediterranean climate there.
These drought relief policies, which have been largely of an ad hoc reactive nature, have created social and economic dependencies among people in the low rainfall areas; which are proving financially costly to governments, and difficult to escape from. Together with broader sector and national policies, they have encouraged escalation of animal numbers and had perverse effects on the natural environment. This paper reviews the factors which have created this situation, and suggests measures to restore sustainable management of livestock based farming systems in these low rainfall environments, while alleviating poverty.
1 Algeria, Libya, Morocco,and Tunisia in the Maghreb, and Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria in the Mashreq region. The author is indebted to Drs. Tidiane Ngaido and Nabil Chaherli. IFPRI-ICARDA Post-Doctoral Fellows, and to the national co-workers from the M&M countries for valuable data cited in this paper.
Demographic change and income growth in WANA over the last fifty years, and their influence on the livestock sector
Since the end of the second world war there have been sweeping social and economic changes in the WANA countries including:
a demographic explosion: population in some countries has grown at around 3 percent annually, and for the M&M regions as a whole it has increased two and a half times between 1960 and 1995, from 44 million to 112 million (Table 2).
rapid urbanization, and migration of rural population to the cities or to work in other countries, especially from the impoverished low rainfall areas. Recent farm surveys in these areas of Morocco and Tunisia2 indicate that out-migration is a very important source of family income, particularly for small farms, with up to fifty percent of male household members, including heads of households, being absent part of each year in urban employment in-country or out-migration to work in other countries. The agricultural population in those countries had declined dramatically in proportion to the total population over the three and a half decades; from 58.5 percent of the total in 1960 to only 24.9 percent in 1995, nevertheless in absolute numbers it has not fallen, being actually 2 million higher overall in 1995 than in 1960. The future implications of these trends for land use, farm and flock size, the labor force, and income distribution from agriculture in the low rainfall areas merit careful study.
rising incomes in most countries, both as a result of expanding exploitation of oil and mineral resources, and other factors, including irrigation development, construction, industrialization and tourism, but with significant pockets of poverty remaining, particularly in the low rainfall areas. (World Bank 1992).
These factors influence livestock and the environment in several ways.
population growth alone raises demand for staple foods and livestock products, but particularly for cereal grains. In an agricultural land-tight environment such as prevails in the M&M countries, cereal production for human consumption competes for existing arable land with production for animal feed; or, it may encroach on land previously used for grazing. In most WANA countries no scope remains for expansion of cultivation in the higher rainfall regions and the irrigation potential is almost exhausted. The low rainfall areas are virtually the last frontier.
income growth shifts the emphasis of demand for food from diets mainly based on starchy products--especially cereals in the Mediterranean environment, towards income elastic commodities, i.e., vegetables, fruits, oilseeds, meat, and dairy products, with rising demand for animal feed. The latter mainly affects the lower rainfall areas, where cereals dominate land use; for example, aggregate barley area in the M&M countries has expanded by 3.66 million hectares (79 percent) between 1969–71 and 1989-91, principally for feed; whereas the area of wheat, the main food grain, has stagnated (Table 3). However, yields of wheat, which is grown principally in more favorable environments, have risen by 53.0 percent due to technological change; whereas those of barley--the key crop of the low rainfall areas have fallen by 12 percent. This reflects the limited adoption of yield increasing technology by farmers in these risky drought-prone areas, which is an important contributory factor to environmental degradation.
urbanization tends to raise demand for processed foods and foods of convenience. When accompanied by income growth it also provides access to a more diverse diet, because of the broader range of choice available in a market-oriented environment.
2 Morocco: Aridoculture Baseline Study and Farming Systems Typology: 1993,K. Moore; F. Nassif; A. Sefrioui, and R Riddle
Tunisia: Small Farmers, Potential and Prospects. The World Bank, March 1991
All of the above forces are at work in the M&M countries, as a result of which demand now exceeds domestic production capacity for several important commodities, especially cereals, meat, and milk, generating rising imports to offset declining self-sufficiency per capita. (Tables 4 and 5). Barley imports in 1992-94 were almost double those a decade earlier. Imports of ruminant meat and live animals cost almost 900 million US dollars in 1982-84, a period of severe drought in several countries; for 1992-94, when climatic conditions were more favorable, this fell to 462 million US dollars. Recent projections for WANA as a whole indicate that the region will be the world's largest cereal importer by 2020, with feed grains representing 28 percent of the total requirement; while sheep and goat meat deficits would rise from 0. 34 million m. t. in 1993 to between 0. 67 and 0. 69 million m. t. in 2020. (Rosegrant et al. 1995).
Despite large increases in domestic sheep and goat numbers in several M&M countries with sheep populations increasing by about 26 million (64%) between 1961 and 1991, (Table 5) and rising feed imports, per capita consumption of red meat has gone down, reflecting the inability of the small ruminant sector to meet current demand generated by population and income growth. Had it not been for the rapid expansion of the domestic poultry industry in these countries in the last fifteen years, imports of red meat would have been considerably larger or rising domestic prices would have restrained demand. Despite these developments, levels of dietary animal protein in all WANA countries are still well below the 33 percent considered nutritionally desirable. (Economides 1995).
Closing this dietary gap while maintaining calorie intakes at their present high per capita levels of around 3,000 kcal/day, in the face of a projected population growth to 180 million by 2020 and without degrading the environment, presents a tremendous challenge to governments.
Government interventions to achieve food security and their impact on livestock and the environment
Macroeconomic and sectoral policies
To meet this challenge, and to maintain social stability, government policies in the M&M countries have emphasized import substitution for key food commodities, and have adopted a range of input and output subsidy, exchange rate, tariff protection, price control, credit, and other incentive measures to stimulate domestic food production, as well as investing heavily in irrigation and in research in the higher rainfall areas to intensify and diversify production and increase employment opportunities through value added agriculture-based industries. Until recently most governments also intervened massively to control purchase, marketing, and processing of strategic commodities and of farm inputs, as well as supporting consumers through pricing policies.
Although these sectoral policies were directed primarily to increasing productivity of crops in the higher potential regions rather than in the low rainfall areas, where both the scope for diversification of crop production and the use of yield increasing technology are limited by aridity and high risks of drought, they have, nevertheless, had a negative impact on the environment in those areas in several ways.
by subsidizing cereal prices without targeting them to specific ecoregions, governments have encouraged farmers to expand their production into areas which are marginal for cultivation, including sloping lands in upland watersheds without any soil conservation measures, and steppe range lands down to 150 mm MAP. Once these areas have been invaded by mechanized cultivation it is difficult to turn the clock back, both for social reasons, and because the natural vegetation has been degraded or destroyed. 3
by facilitating the purchase of farm machinery, trucks, and water tankers through cheap fuel, subsidized imports, tax relief, and credit policies governments have made it easier to cultivate marginal lands in low rainfall areas for barley production, whether for sale or, more commonly, for in-situ livestock feed. This has also enabled flocks to access areas of rangelands for extended periods of the year, which until recently, they could only remain on for limited periods; or, because lack of user rights, not at all. 4 5 Damage to vegetation from overgrazing, vehicular compaction, trampling, and fuelwood collection is widely reported.
by nationalizing rangelands, undermining tribal authority, and enforced settlement of nomadic people, without substituting alternative effective systems of management, and establishing clear property rights (whether communal or private), some governments have opened the door to the abusive uses of the resource described above. The land belongs to everyone and to no one! For example, where security of tenure is lacking, individuals may cultivate barley on rangelands as a means of claiming title to the land, even when they recognize that continuous barley cropping without a fallow or legume break to conserve moisture fertility is degrading the environment (Oram et. al 1994). Perhaps of even greater importance, the absence of clear property rights is a major disincentive to private investment in sustainable land management (shrub plantations, range reseeding or phosphate application, fencing, soil conservation, terracing, and water harvesting. ) (Ngaido 1997)
Prior to the 1970's there were forty percent fewer sheep in the M&M countries, and they were able to obtain a large share of their sustenance from the natural grazings. However, in the absence of large-scale feed supplementation their numbers fluctuated widely with precipitation, and losses in drought years kept population from rising in good years to a level which seriously degraded the resource. Even in the 1950's, however, concern was being expressed about the state of the rangelands (FAO 1959).
An important consequence of the demand pressures discussed above, combined with price incentives and other government interventions, even when they are not specifically directed either at the low rainfall areas or the livestock sector, has been to create economic and social situations which encourage farmers to keep more and more sheep in those areas (and often for longer periods) than the natural grazings can support. Increasing concentration on one species of the animal population is also detrimental.
3 Nevertheless, Syria has recently taken a bold decision to restrict cultivation in its lowest rainfall ecozone,where MAP is below 250 mm, and is pursuing measures to restore more conservative land use practices, including shrub plantations.
4 Tadros (1989), reports that in a survey of 85 sheep owners in Jordan, 52 percent owned a tractor, 71 percent a truck or pickup, 19 percent a water tanker, and only 18 percent had no wheels; 21 percent were fully nomadic, 23 percent had a home base but no land, 7 percent had land but no home, and 48 percent had both a home and land.
5 From 1992 agricultural exporters are permitted by the Syrian Government to use up to 75 percent of their export earnings to import agricultural trucks. (FAO 1992)
This has had two significant results. First, there has been a progressive decline in the contribution of the rangelands to small ruminant diets and a concomitant increase in flock owners' reliance on other sources of roughage (especially cereal straw and stubbles, and by-products of crops grown in higher rainfall or irrigated lands); and on supplementation with grains and concentrates. (Nordblom et al. 1995). While this is partly a reflection of the substantial increase in the number of animals on a shrinking area of rangelands, it is also widely attributed to resource degradation from overstocking.
Second, the risks of catastrophic losses of animals from disease and drought (particularly the latter) have been greatly enhanced by the escalation of ruminant numbers. Over the years drought has caused grave social, economic, and political problems in the M&M regions, which have affected entire nations. For example the severe 1995 drought in Morocco led to a 40 percent decline in national GDP and the loss of 100 million work days nation-wide (Iovanna 1996).
Nevertheless, it is the agriculture of the low rainfall areas, which are heavily dependent on cereals and small ruminant livestock as the main sources of agricultural income which is the most immediately and devastatingly hit by drought. Livestock are both affected directly through loss of feed and water supply and indirectly by increased vulnerability to disease. For example:
In Morocco, 25 percent of the cattle and 30 percent of the sheep perished or were sold prematurely in the 1981-82 droughts. Data for livestock in 1995 are not yet published, but cereal production fell that year to a third of the ten-year average, while food and feed imports doubled.
In Tunisia, meat and milk production dropped by 35 and 22 percent respectively in the 1978–79 droughts (Boughanni et al. 1996); while cereal output for 1979–81 was only half that for 1991–92.
In Syria, the national sheep flock declined by 25–30 percent (2.5 million head) in the 1983–84 droughts due to starvation, crisis slaughter, and emergency export. (World Bank 1986). Meat prices collapsed and grain prices rose: this caused a serious crisis in the nascent private sector poultry industry, with numerous bankruptcies (USDA 1985).
In Iraq, there was almost complete failure of cereal crops and range vegetation in the devastating 1983 drought, resulting in premature sale, slaughter, or smuggling to neighboring countries of a high proportion of the flocks. Loss of many ewes seriously retarded recovery. (Adary 1997).
In Jordan, 70 percent of the camels perished from drought between 1958 and 1962 (Lancaster 1981).
Drought mitigation policies
In an attempt to limit the social and economic damage from drought, governments have instituted a range of measures, beginning in the 1980's, which have tended to become more complex over time. Of all the policies affecting livestock and the environment in the low rainfall areas these are probably the most important, and they will, therefore, be reviewed in some detail here, based on a synthesis of the drought mitigation programs in Jordan, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia. While these vary in detail they have many common features, for example:
Concentrate feed purchase and distribution to owners of ruminant livestock under government auspices is a key element in all countries. Generally this feed is provided at prices well below subsidized national producer prices, but not necessarily below border prices for imported feed. The main components are barley, sorghum or maize, and bran; although baled hay and lucerne is important in North Africa. Some domestic cereal producers who own sheep may receive a double subsidy - on prices of grain which they sell to the government and on supplementary feed provided for their stock under the drought mitigation programs.
While this feed was originally intended as a drought emergency measure it has tended to become institutionalized and is proving a political and social embarrassment to some governments, particularly those involved in structural adjustment commitments.
The feed has generally been distributed to flock owners on an untargeted per head of livestock basis, leading both to an escalation of animal numbers and to moral hazards. (Blench 1995). In countries with a majority of the animals in the hands of a few owners-- as is the case in Jordan, the wealthier farmers have clearly benefitted most. Capital accumulation has facilitated the purchase of tractors, water tankers and trucks as well as more stock--thus creating an upward spiral of demand for supplementary feed as the rangeland contribution per capita declines.
The quantities of feed sold at subsidized prices or distributed through emergency programs have been considerable. In Jordan the annual average rose from 96,000 m. t. of barley, 95,000 m. t. of bran, and 65,000 m. t. of corn/sorghum for the 1982–90 period to an average of 552,000 m. t. barley, 167,000 m. t. of bran, and 35,000 m. t. of corn/sorghum for 1993–95. The cumulative subsidy cost for 1991-96 totaled about 116 million US dollars. (Salem and Sweiti 1996). Stroebel (1996) describes this as a subsidy for overgrazing and the destruction of the environment! In Syria numbers of sheep increased by 7.6 million between 1975 and 1983, while consumption of concentrates rose concurrently from 6% to 25% of total feed supply, and the contribution of rangelands fell from 65% to 33% of supply. (World Bank 1986). In Tunisia concentrates, which averaged under 10% of total feed requirements up to the mid-1980s, have risen subsequently to 30% in ‘normal’ years and 50% in drought years. (World Bank 1991). In the 1993–95 drought period 991,000 m. t. of barley and 704,000 m. t. of bran were distributed to farmers and/or sold to the feed industry. Imports of feed barley averaged about 500,000 m. t. in 1994 and 1995, compared to 256,000 m. t. in 1993 and only 55,000 m. t. in 1996. (M&M Project 1997). There were also considerable imports of bran, sorghum, oats and lucerne in 1994 and 1995, while none were recorded for 1993 or 1994. In Morocco 751,000 m. t. of barley and mixed feeds were provided during the 1995 drought, plus tax and custom free importation of 210,000 m. t. of bran, and 316,000 m. t. of dry lucerne and sugar-beet pulp. The total cost of subsidies and transport of feed between 1981–1995 was almost 1.4 billion dirhams(about 165 million US dollars). Relative to the size of the national sheepflock, however, this is a smaller per capita allocation than in Jordan or Tunisia, and an ongoing survey indicates that Moroccan farmers found the quantities allocated to be insufficient.
Most countries have embodied veterinary prophylaxis measures, as a means of reducing losses of stock rendered more vulnerable to diseases and parasites by drought. Syria achieved a notable success in the early 1980's by eradicating sheep pox under the program, a major source of past losses. The establishment of 80 mobile field clinics contributed greatly to this achievement, as well as to preventing heavy cattle losses from a rinderpest outbreak in 1983. Vaccine availability in Syria, Jordan, Tunisia, and Morocco has been expanded - 8 million doses were provided in the latter during the 1995 drought. In Tunisia the costs of the disease prophylactic campaign between 1992/3 and 1995/6 were 34.2 percent of the total Sauvegarde program costs, exceeding those of barley subsidies which were nominal because of cheap imports.
Most programs involve measures to improve access to credit for purchase of feed, often through the cooperatives which are usually a principal agent for the local distribution of feed. 6 Provision to defer repayment of farmers' debts to credit banks is often included, although in severe droughts this has caused problems with the capitalization of the banks. 7 A further negative result is to boost livestock numbers in good years by easy access to cheap capital.
While detailed costs of the feed itself, including imports, are often specified, those of the importation, storage, transport, distribution, and sale of feed are rarely indicated. In some cases — for example Morocco, distribution of feed is provided down to farm level. The loss of revenue from tax, tariff and custom free imports of feed must also be taken into account. Nor are administrative costs identified, although they must be considerable: because of the heavy government involvement in drought emergency measures hence governments have been trying to reduce their direct involvement in managing the feed component of the programs by granting more responsibility to cooperatives and local authorities.
In most countries the state still maintains central responsibility for the planning, financing, importation, and administration of feed distribution and drought relief measures, especially with respect to ruminant livestock in low rainfall areas. In some cases the programs are managed by an inter-ministerial committee (Tunisia and Syria), in others principally by a specific ministry (the Ministry of Supply in Jordan). Decentralization is achieved through regional and local authorities, and/or cooperatives, with feedback to the responsible government agencies on progress and problems. Increased private sector involvement is developing in transport and distribution of feed.
As the programs have evolved over time they have in some respects become more innovative. Examples of this include:
Establishment of revolving funds derived from sales of feed, interest payments on credit, taxes on slaughter of animals etc., to maintain and replenish strategic reserve of feedstocks against future emergencies.
Welfare provisions, such as aid-in-kind to small farmers, or food-for-work, including improvement of rural infrastructure.
Drought early warning systems are under consideration as well as crop or rainfall insurance against drought. An experimental crop insurance scheme was launched in Morocco in 1995 on 94,000 hectares in 22 communes.
Range improvement measures form part of most programs, including water point development, communal range improvement measures, and considerable government investments in shrub plantations. In some cases sequestration of grazings for the latter has caused resentment among local people, although this is gradually being defused over time through granting of permits to allow access of flocks to the plantations on a per capita payment basis. 8 However there is relatively little individual private investment in shrubs, because of their cost and lack of secure property rights, while governments seem to have done little to foster communal grazing associations.
6 During the 1978-84 World/Bank-Syrian Government Livestock Development Project, numbers of sheep breeding and range improvement cooperatives rose there from 51 to 256. They proved valuable instruments for credit and sale of feed, which required registration of flocks and paying fees; but were not very effective in imposing range discipline because of lack of authority and vehicles for policing the area and fears of reprisal. (Leybourne 1966).
7 In Morocco, for example, the debt relief component of the 1995 drought mitigation program was 1,650 million dirhams; over three times the cost of the ‘Sauvegarde de Cheptel’ operation for livestock protection (491 million dirhams) which included all feed costs, their transport and distribution, the vaccine program, and a rangeland improvement water points element.
8 250,000 hectares of shrub reserves and about 120,000 hectares of plantations have been established by the government in Syria; (Rae et al., 1996) 280,00 hectares of government range reserves in Jordan, with 23,000 hectares of shrubs at a cost of U.S.1000 per hectare; a large area in Libya; and considerable investment is underway in Morocco and in Tunisia — where a planned target of 800,000 hectares is reported (World Bank 1991).
Conclusions with respect to the impact of government policies on livestock and the environment
Redressing the balance: priorities for the future management of low rainfall agriculture
Create a permanent institutional base to manage drought.
There is an urgent need for countries to treat drought as an integral component of the production function rather than as an unpredictable emergency, and to give a high priority to developing national drought management strategies with strong central planning and administrative support; appropriate technical backstopping and predictive capability including early warning and rangeland monitoring systems; and decentralization of planning to the regional and municipal level. Without such an institutional base governments are largely flying blind and policies for dealing with drought will remain ad hoc and reactive.
Increase investment in the development of the low rainfall areas.
Governments have concentrated investments in infrastructure on the higher rainfall and irrigated areas and have largely neglected the economic and social development of the low rainfall areas. This is a major cause of poverty and high rates of migration from those areas. There is strong evidence (from a recent review of about sixty agricultural projects) that national investment in infrastructure and social services is a key incentive to achieving their financial and environmental objectives - provided that those objectives have been formulated in close participation and agreement with local people and not thrust on them from above. (Oram and de Haan 1996). As well as improving levels of living, health, education and incomes through access to markets, infrastructural investment may also create employment, directly and indirectly, thus helping to stabilize incomes and reduce out-migration; and it may help to sweeten the pill of changes in government policies to reduce the untargeted subsidies and other handouts to which farmers and flock owners have become accustomed. In terms of the foregone opportunities for investment in social infrastructure in the low rainfall areas, the costs of these subsidies appear high; if the damage to the environment could be vectored in they would probably be enormous.
Review national and agricultural policies in terms of their potential impact on the environment.
Governments still exert a strong influence on food and feed imports, prices, credit, and purchasing, storage and sale of cereals, despite moving towards market liberalization and structural adjustment agreements with the Bretton Woods Institutions in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia, and some relaxation of government controls in Syria. As part of their review of current macro and sectoral policies, it would be valuable for governments to examine their role in creating intractable problems in the low rainfall areas; especially those which provide perverse incentives to increase small ruminant numbers and mechanized cultivation of rangelands. Success should not be measured in terms of stabilizing maximum numbers of animals on a deteriorating natural resource base by distribution of subsidized feed, but rather by creating conditions which enable fewer but more productive stock to be maintained sustainably through mobility and range-crop-livestock integration.
Encourage participation of the private sector in agricultural development of the low rainfall areas.
Crop management: For the higher rainfall and irrigated areas the private sector generally plays a major role in the provision of seed, fertilizer, and other inputs for crop production as well as in purchase, processing, and marketing of products. As rainfall declines and the scope for crop diversification decreases this role diminishes as farmers become increasingly averse to risking expenditure on modern yield-increasing technology. Recent studies in the M&M countries show that there has been very limited adoption of modern cereal varieties, forage legumes, fertilizer, herbicide, or other inputs below 300 mm MAP, where farmers remain wedded to low input, barley-dominant cereal culture. (Oram et al., 1994; Tutwiler 1996).
Under these circumstances the principal current role of the private sector in crop production is in mechanization of cereal cultivation and harvesting, principally through contractual services. This may help to reduce vulnerability to drought and in this sense should be encouraged: however there are indications that it is also proving environmentally damaging due to inappropriate choice of machinery and cultivation of sloping land without any soil conservation measures. Governments should monitor these practices and could act to ban cultivation on soils or slopes at high risk; however, they could also play a more constructive role by regulating the type of machinery sold and training contractors and private owners in its appropriate use.
Ruminant livestock management: Of great importance is better understanding of the current nature and capacity of the private sector with respect to the purchase, transportation, marketing, storage, and refrigeration of meat and milk, and fattening of live animals purchased from the low rainfall areas. A modern and well-equipped marketing system could play a major role in facilitating destocking and restocking of rangelands in relation to drought (for which there appears to be no provision in any of the drought mitigation programs); as well as in importation, purchase and distribution of feed. The poultry industry offers an example of successful private enterprise. The key question is whether the private sector is able to take on more responsibility for small ruminant support, and the governments are willing to help them. It is difficult to identify any studies on these issues: this seems to be a black hole in knowledge.
Substantially strengthen research on key issues affecting the low rainfall areas.
Governments have generally accorded low priority to research on the problems of the low rainfall areas, and especially to understanding their socio-economic constraints and examining possible solutions. Tinkering with technology on scattered plots is unlikely to solve many of the problems discussed in this paper.
It is critical that this lacuna is redressed: there are a number of interesting but controversial approaches to raising productivity and alleviating poverty in those areas while reducing damage to the environment, which cannot be adequately explored without a mix of technological and socio-economic disciplines, including modeling. These include:
Trade and price issues
What would be the effect of removing all input and output subsidies on cereals, and fixing market prices at approximately border levels, on land use, domestic production and imports, animal numbers, and farm incomes: especially in the low rainfall areas where barley is grown mainly for feed on-farm?
It has been suggested that traditional sheep production systems based on sale of animals for slaughter at low weights off the low rainfall areas are inefficient. Yet although ‘stratification’ across ecozones for fattening young range-reared animals to larger weights on farms or feedlots in higher rainfall or irrigated areas has long been advocated, both as an efficient way of taking pressure off the range and of increasing output per animal, it does not seem to have taken off. What are the reasons? Better opportunities for land use in high rainfall areas? Price preferences for lean meat? Should governments give higher priority to promoting stratification; if so, by what means?
Drought emergency schemes and social issues
How can governments get off the hook of costly untargeted feed subsidies which mainly benefit larger farmers, without causing social distress to small livestock producers in drought years? Can rationing, with tighter flock registration rules and feed cards, provide a viable basis for targeting, without creating moral hazards? Morocco has been developing a system for feed allocation based on expectations of drought severity and targeting of areas most severely affected. (Laamari and El Mourid 1997).
Are there alternative means than feed subsidies of helping farmers to bridge feed gaps in emergencies — a feed revolving fund to maintain a government reserve for sale at border prices, subsidies on transport for its distribution, better credit access regardless of collateral? Should small marginal producers be helped financially or by other means such as job training to leave agriculture? The Australian Rural Adjustment Scheme may merit study as a possible model. (Musgrave 1990).
Environmental Issues: Alternatives to barley-barley-barley
Alternatives to the environmentally damaging barley-barley system of feed production currently preferred by farmers in the low rainfall areas need to be found. These could involve a moratorium on barley and/or mechanization below a given MAP or on terrain unsuited to cultivation, and reversion to natural or reseeded rangeland. Perhaps ‘set-aside’ payments could be considered for legal owners of such land; alternatively, a barley-forage legume system; barley-alley cropping with a perennial, or shrubs/cactus could be promoted. These may be more viable options than range reseeding and rotational grazing in areas where property rights are at issue. How could their adoption be encouraged? Options might be to introduce acreage payments for forage legumes on a time-specific basis; special credits for investment in shrubs; and some form of insurance (probably based on rainfall) to mitigate drought risks. Unfortunately, current knowledge on the feed potential of the barley-barley system, and of these options as alternatives to barley or to properly managed rangelands, is inadequate for well-judged recommendations to governments.
Property Rights Issues
It is widely recognized that uncertainties over property rights in the low rainfall areas are a major constraint, both to environmentally sound land management and investment in technology and land improvement.
This is a major problem for governments, especially with respect to rangelands, where animals are owned privately but the resource may be common; involving difficult decisions of control over land, and whether and under what circumstances solutions can be found through promotion of grazing associations, issuance of grazing permits, other special measures to support community action, or through privatization. A key issue is how to enthuse and empower local people, and engender a sense of responsibility for the resource. These problems and related legislative or other reforms will take time to resolve. (Ngaido 1997).
However, there are some technological options which do not depend on clear property rights for success, including the use of feed blocks and straw treatment to improve sheep nutrition, and various animal health measures. These may merit priority where some longer-term or more costly options are constrained by risk and legal or other uncertainties, especially in view of reports of increased incidence of metabolic and parasitic diseases of sheep in some countries. (Blench 1995).
Monitoring and Evaluation Issues
Monitoring and evaluation of farming, livestock management, and the environmental health of the resource base in the low rainfall areas is crucial to their sustainable development and to providing essential data for answering the key questions of reconciling growth with poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability there, for example with respect to resource degradation and the resilience of the rangelands. This has been neglected by governments and development projects; and putting modern well-equipped monitoring and evaluation systems in place staffed by well-trained inter-disciplinary teams on a long-term basis should have very high priority.
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TABLE 1. LAND USE IN THE MASHREQ AND MAGHREB COUNTRIES, 1991, AND CHANGES SINCE 1970
|Area (000 ha)||Percent change in area, 1970–91|
|Total Land||Cultivated Area||Permanent Pasture||Forest & Woodland||Other Land||Cultivated Land||Permanent Pasture||Forest & Woodland||Other Land|
|Iraq||43,737||5,450||4,000||1,880||32,407||9.1||0||0. 1||-0. 1|
|Libya||175,954||2,160||13,300||695||159,799||6.6||20. 9||30. 4||-1.6|
Source: FAO Production Yearbooks, Vol. 26, 1972 and Vol. 49, 1995.
TABLE 2. POPULATION DYNAMICS: M & M COUNTRIES 1960 – 1995
|Year||Total Population||Agricultural Pop'n||% Share Ag: Total|
|M & M Regional Totals|
Source: FAO Production Yearbooks: 1972, Tables 3 and 5; 1981, Table 3; 1995, Table 3. Eight countries.
TABLE 3: CHANGES IN AREAS OF KEY CROPS IN M&M REGION, 1969–71 TO 1989–91 (000 HA)
|Barley||Wheat||Pulse||Total Arable||Permanent Crops||Arable + Perm. Crops|
|M&M Aggregate region:||3,664||155||47||1,914||1,588||3,512|
Total arable includes other crops (summer cereals, roots, sugar, oilseeds, vegetables, cotton, etc. ).
Sources: FAO Production Yearbooks, Vol. 35, 1981; Vol. 46, 1992.
TABLE 4. BARLEY: IMPORTS AND EXPORTS FROM THE MASHREQ AND MAGHREB REGIONS 1982–84, 1986–88, 1992–94 AND PERCENT TOTAL CEREAL IMPORTS 1992–94
|Country||Imports 1982–84 MT||Exports 1982–84 MT||Imports 1986–88 MT||Exports 1986–88 MT||Imports 1992–94 MT||Exports 1992–94 MT||Imports 1992–84 000$||Exports 1992–84 000$||Total Imports 1992–84 Mill MT||All Cereals 1992–84 Mill US$|
Source: FAO Trade Yearbooks
|Country||Year||Meat, Fresh & Frozen: Imports||Live Animals: Imports||Live Exports Sheep|
|Metric tons||US$(000)||Metric tons||US$(000)||Head||US$(000)||Head||US$(000)||Head||US$(000)|
1 There were no significant exports of meat or live cattle. Source: FAO Trade Yearbooks: Vol. 1984, Vol. 199
TABLE 6. SHEEP PRODUCTION: M&M REGIONS 1961–65 TO 1993–95 (000 HEAD)
|Country||1961–65||1969–71||1979–81||1989–91||1993–95||INDEX 1965–95 (1965=100)|
Source: FAO Production Yearbooks: Vol. 26,1972; Vol. 32, 1978; Vol. 44, 1990; Vol. 49, 1995.
TABLE 7. BASIC SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS M&M COUNTRIES1
|Country||Population 1994||Population Growth 1995–2020||GNP per capita 1994||GDP 1994||Agriculture as % of GDP 1994||Agricultural Growth Per Annum||Cereal Imports||Increase|
|000s||% per annum||US$||Mill US$||%||%||%||000 MT||000 MT||1974 = 100|
|Sources:||FAO Production Yearbook Vol 49, 1995; Population.|
Population Projections.U.N.Medium Variant World Population Prospects: the 1996 Revision.
FAO Trade Yearbook Vol 8, 1994: Cereal Imports.
World Bank: World Develop Reports 1992 and 1984: GNP,GDP, Agricultural Growth.
TABLE 8. SHARE OF ARABLE AREA OCCUPIED BY MAJOR CROPS: MOROCCO AND SYRIA 1989/90
|MOROCCO 1989||SYRIA 1989|
|Ecozones||Sub-humid >400 mm||Semi-arid 300–400||Arid 200–300||Mountain Variable||Total No. Reporting %||Sub-humid >350mm||Semi-arid 1 250–350||Semi-arid 2 250||Marginal 200–250||Steppe||Total No. Reporting|
|Other annuals (melons etc.)||6||5||8||0||62||6||57.0||23.2||3.7||0.9||--||130||16.8|
|Fruit trees & Olives||36||5||9||47||161||16||450||26.1||11.9||0.9||--||146||18.8|
|Total Farmers in each zone||224||379||368||61||1032||776|
Source: Morocco - Oram et.al.1994; Syria - Oram and Hojjati 1995. Based on analysis at IFPRI of farm surveys supervised by Nabil Khaldi.
FIGURE 1. AREA AND YIELD OF BARLEY:SYRIA 1961–1994