CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The workshop identified a number of positive
outcomes in the rehabilitation process as indicated in the country
presentations that have strongly influenced the process of returning the
agricultural sector back to some normalcy. However, there are weaknesses that have
been identified and were discussed. A synopsis of these factors is presented
- It was generally agreed that within the overall
rehabilitation process, less attention had been
towards the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector. This may in part have
been due to
and the relatively limited physical impact that the tsunami had on this sector
to the overall damage sustained. The importance of this sector on the
significant numbers of people and the external impact of a functional
economy were thought to be legitimate arguments for raising the profile of this
- From a socio-economic perspective there is very little
data available that would allow
comprehensive assessment of the impact of the rehabilitation efforts on
livelihoods. In a number of cases
victims of the tsunami are still housed in Internally
Person (IDP) camps and are dependent on distributed aid. This dependence on
a concern to authorities in that it effectively hinders the process of
dependence and independent livelihood strategies for returning communities and
- There is still considerable infrastructure rehabilitation
that is required before fully
agricultural pursuits can be implemented.
This factor was considered as
hindrance to the initiation of agricultural endeavours in some areas.
- The effect of the tsunami on extension services and
related knowledge-based agencies was
enormous. Shortly after the tsunami, individuals in
the country with the required skills to
assistance were reluctant to work in affected areas due to fear of further
possible injury. There is a dire need
for capacity building in this area and the
and implementation of effective technology transfer strategies to facilitate
of new and improved farming systems.
- Weak coordination amongst a range of stakeholders active
in the rehabilitation process was
as a factor impacting on progress towards normalizing agriculture except in a
places such as Nagapattinam (India).
- Soil salinity is recognized as a significant problem in
the affected areas, although there has
noteworthy progress with respect to its mitigation. This has largely been due to the
positive impact of natural rainfall on leaching/flushing salts from the
effective root zone.
there is a need to continue monitoring this process as there is evidence to
sodicity and crop nutritional imbalances are posing a problem in some areas of
- Not enough attention has been paid to the empowerment of
farmer organizations and
groups in building coherent communities and enabling community members to
revive their communities and
build capabilities to undertake the recovery process with
- The provision of inputs to farmers as they return to
agriculture has not been well organized/
and in some cases sufficient materials were not made available and/or there has
been any follow-up in the supply of further assistance after the initial input.
Some of the lessons
learnt in this process were identified as follows:
- Overlapping of programmes, inputs and beneficiaries was
clearly evident in some areas.
- There is a need to utilize/work through local
institutions in effecting input distribution and
- Difficulties in the assessment of the extent of damage
and poor coordination between actors
in challenges associated with targeting immediate response initiatives. There is
problem of reliability of data and poor coordination between different parties
- Lack of local expertise and support, and consequently a
dependency on outside assistance.
- Difficulties in finding a reliable supplier/implementing
partners in the affected areas and
- The slow pace of the recovery process is attributed to
the complexity of the problem that
not only addresses the physical agricultural issue associated with the impact
of the wave
also the socio-economic parameters. These two components are inseparably
- A lack of information, feedback and appropriate
timeframes were experienced. For
poor data management resulted in inconsistencies between data sets collected on
- In general, there was a lack of a strategic vision for
agriculture, this being exacerbated by
paucity of technological interventions or mixed and confusing approaches to
prevailing complex situation.
Recommendations as to how to move forward in the rehabilitation of the
agricultural sector were made. These included:
- A concerted effort in building capacity at all levels
from farmers through to institutions.
should be undertaken within a planned timeframe.
- The establishment of some pilot projects that address the
issues confronting the return of
lands to full production that would incorporate elements of monitoring and
- Strengthening of empowerment processes among farmer
- Development of data processing capacity and
interpretation within government institutions
would enable sound future planning.
effecting the overall development of a sustainable agricultural sector were
deemed to include:
- A systematic recovery process should be implemented.
This would require a greater degree
cooperation between all parties.
- Monitoring of feedback and follow-up activities.
- Improvement of service capacity and identification of
service providers and beneficiaries
- Sustainable solutions should include vulnerability
reduction of people dependent on
risk transfer and disaster preparedness.
- Income generation through integrated agriculture
systems, agribusiness and agro-industry.
- Marketing network arrangement and provision of market
Agriculture did not receive the priority it
should have been afforded. There were several reasons for this, including:
- In the aftermath of the tsunami the focus by most aid
agencies and donors was on the
damage caused to infrastructure that was most visible. This was at the expense
somewhat less visible, but equally important, agriculture sector.
- The logistics of moving large quantities of inputs (i.e.
seed, fertilizer) required to re-establish
was seem as a further hurdle to overcome in the process of rehabilitating the
- The availability of technical experts and individuals who
were prepared to go to affected
- The initial focus on rehabilitation was on salinity and
the reclamation of salt-affected lands
expense of livelihoods.
- It is impossible to implement an agricultural project
within the time frame that donors and
agencies work within. In general it
takes between three and five years to implement
a successful agricultural
programme. Hence there is a need to
educate donors and aid
agencies on the benefits of investing for
the long term.
is a need to focus on an integrated approach to natural resources management of
which agriculture is just one of the
- Our ability to quantify the extent of damage and the long-term
impacts on livelihoods was
well articulated to donors, except in a few places such as Nagapattinam
need to address this.
There is a need to strengthen the
coordination function at the operational level. Several NGOs established
partnerships without local government consultation, making the coordination
difficult. Along with this there is a need to strengthen the acquisition,
assessment and evaluation of data within the national governments in order to target
more specific interventions. This could be facilitated by appointing a single body
within the government as a central hub/depository of information. In addition,
there is a need to strengthen the capacity with such organizations in
data evaluation and interpretation.
In some cases there was inequity in
compensation payouts to farmers that caused considerable dissatisfaction. In
this respect, farmers that leased land in India were not eligible for
compensation packages or assistance, but some farmers received coverage through
the efforts of NGOs.
There is a need for designing rehabilitation
activities to suit the specific location and circumstances that prevail in the
different countries affected by the tsunami.
Farm labourers who were dependent on the
agricultural sector for their livelihoods seem to have been neglected in the
overall approach to re-establishing the agricultural sector. There is a need to
the plight of this sector of the community.
Challenges that are
posed over the long term were discussed and identified as follows:
- The problems associated with heavily
damaged/impacted agricultural areas has, to date,
been avoided. There is a need to now
consider approaches and interventions that would
address these more difficult or
recalcitrant affected areas.
- Technology transfer and capacity building is required at
- High unemployment rates in tsunami affected areas needs
addressing. The agricultural
may assist in providing job opportunities, particularly where there may be
changes in this sector, i.e. establishment of plantation crops.
- Keeping the momentum with donors and other stakeholders.
- There are policy restrictions in some cases that are
hindering the rehabilitation process.
need to be addressed.
- Acknowledgement of the role of traditional agricultural
systems in the rehabilitation
and its incorporation into such programmes needs to be recognized.
The overarching priorities for long-term rehabilitation and development
need to incorporate these four elements:
Integrated coastal area management plans: All countries affected by the tsunami are
to develop policies and strategies to incorporate coastal buffer zones. This
include the establishment of Green Belts.
Further, the concept of a coastal
plan would incorporate coastal water management; waste management;
livelihoods development; research and information sharing; and the
of traditional knowledge into development plans.
Mainstreaming disaster management into national planning
and strategies: The events of
December clearly demonstrate an inadequacy within this area that needs urgent
when developing medium- and long-terms plans in the rehabilitation process.
- Development of an effective monitoring and evaluation
system: To facilitate the process of
learning, there is a need for monitoring and evaluation in order to adjust
strategies as progress in the implementation of rehabilitation programmes takes
- Long-term priorities in meeting rehabilitation of the
agricultural sector: The overall
goal in the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector is to build a better and
agriculture that is environmentally sustainable. In order to achieve this, four key
need to be addressed. These include the following:
- Address land use
and land tenure issues: Land use changes are inevitable with the
redevelopment of these coastal areas. This includes the re-zoning of land for
that may not coincide with that prior to the tsunami, i.e. establishment of Green Belts. Hence
there is a need for effective planning and consultation at all levels to effect these
changes in land use. In addition, issues over land tenure and rights need to be resolved.
building: There is a need for ongoing and long-term commitment to capacity building at
all levels, i.e. from farmers to institutions. The tsunami had a devastating impact
on human resources that will take considerable resources and time to reinstate.
approach to agricultural development: In order to effect the development of
agricultural sector that will meet the aforementioned criteria, there is a need
agribusinesses that incorporate micro-credit schemes, focus on markets and market development,
and promote the development of agricultural enterprises, such as livestock, in areas
that may not have undertaken such activities in the past. There is a need to revitalize the sector and the
concept of agribusiness where seen as a possible mechanism that could incorporate the
active participation of governments and the private sector in the rehabilitation process. It is important that
social equity and gender sensitivity be given high priority in this process.
- Support to
state-of-the-art and traditional agricultural technologies: The development of a
revitalized agricultural sector should be framed within the context of introducing new and
innovative technologies along with the incorporation of traditional
practices. In the latter case there are numerous examples of traditional agriculture
practices that would assist in the rehabilitation process as well as enhance the productivity of
these changed agricultural environments. For example, traditional or commonly grown
crop and vegetable varieties that are suited to saline soil conditions should be
promoted and encouraged.
priorities and strategies
In order to achieve the long-term objectives for the agricultural
sector, there is a need to address some immediate constraints. These
constraints are outlined below:
- Land rights - securing land rights and titles for
individuals would facilitate the initiation of
activities in some areas.
- Infrastructure development and rehabilitation - there is
still considerable restoration work
completed that includes the construction and rehabilitation of rural roads,
and the construction of markets, to name a few.
- Irrigation and drainage - the rehabilitation of
irrigation and drainage canals would facilitate
the reclamation of tsunami affected lands and water bodies.
- Alternative crops and the breeding of salt tolerant
- Ecosystem management - covering soil erosion control and
management and incorporating
holistic approach to managing watersheds.
- Capacity building.
- Research, development and information sharing -
documentation and data collection of the
on and recovery of tsunami affected agriculture and ecosystems, with a strong
on sustainable livelihoods development.
- Facilitating upstream-downstream linkages that
incorporate local knowledge into planning
encouraging greater participation of all actors including local community
- Development of sustainable livelihoods - the focus would
be on the development of
generating activities, micro-credit schemes, establishing market chain
- Development of an effective monitoring and evaluation
- Ensuring a smooth transition of affected individuals from
the emergency phase to the
rehabilitation phase with a focus on agricultural livelihood activities.
- Agricultural development - this includes the production
and distribution of seed and
materials; crop diversification that includes or incorporates cash cropping
protection; livestock; and improved agricultural practices that incorporate
In order to achieve these outcomes, there is a need to put into place
policies and a legal framework governing the management of coastal buffer zones.
Several issues were identified and recommendations in overcoming these
impediments were suggested. The issues highlighted were as follows:
Full-fledged coordination mechanisms for disaster events
such as the tsunami were not in
prior to the event. The lack of an
overarching coordination body in each of the
countries negatively impacted upon the initial relief efforts. Coordination has
been on a sectorial basis with some sectors performing this role effectively.
is not mandatory and hence even though an organization may require
with the government there is no mechanism or requirement for the organization
coordinate its activities with other stakeholders. In addition, cross-sectorial activities
often escape coordination. In order to overcome this limitation there is a need
permanent disaster management and coordination authority (which is in process
in a few
countries) in each of the countries whose role would be to take charge of the
relief/aid during disasters. In this respect it would be mandatory for all
NGOs to sign a memorandum of understanding with the coordination body. This
assist in the coordination efforts and assist in the regulation of these
had shown that some NGOs were unscrupulous in their activities and hence by
registration compulsory the coordination body would be in a position to
assess their activities thereby "black marking" organizations that
did not meet specific
in their relief efforts.
Coordination needs to be decentralized. For effective
coordination to occur there is a need
to decentralize the coordination effort down to the district/local level. This
will require the
of such bodies that will facilitate an effective communications linkage
the community at the lowest level and top level decision-makers at the highest
Lack of capacity and leadership to coordinate. There is a need to
strengthen the capacity of
coordination bodies to effectively manage such disasters as the tsunami. In
addition, it was
evident during the initial stages of the relief effort that there was a lack of
authority to make decisions at various levels. There is a need to strengthen
and devolve the decision-making process to lower levels in the chain of
Coordination is not mandatory. To date there is no requirement for relief
their activities with other stakeholders.
It was recommended that it should
mandatory for all organizations to coordinate their activities through a single
disaster management and coordination authority.