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Present status and lessons learnt

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 below:

Some of the lessons learnt in this process were identified as follows:

Recommendations as to how to move forward in the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector were made. These included:

Strategies effecting the overall development of a sustainable agricultural sector were deemed to include:

General comments

Agriculture did not receive the priority it should have been afforded. There were several reasons for this, including:

There is a need to strengthen the coordination function at the operational level. Several NGOs established partnerships without local government consultation, making the coordination process extremely 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 consider the plight of this sector of the community.

Challenges that are posed over the long term were discussed and identified as follows:

Priorities for long-term rehabilitation and development

The overarching priorities for long-term rehabilitation and development need to incorporate these four elements:

Medium-term 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:

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.

Mechanisms for coordination and exchange of information

Several issues were identified and recommendations in overcoming these impediments were suggested. The issues highlighted were as follows:

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