INTEGRATION OF AGRICULTURE INTO COASTAL AREA MANAGEMENT
1. The role of agriculture in coastal areas
There are many situations in which coastal agricultural production makes an important contribution to the local economy or to national agricultural production. This is the case in many small islands and in many countries where agriculture may be concentrated on the coastal plains or in fertile river deltas, as in Bangladesh and Egypt.
Even where agriculture in a coastal area may not appear to be particularly significant in terms of its contribution to the local economy or to national agricultural production, there are a number of reasons for giving it specific attention when making integrated coastal area plans:
- agriculture is the main user of land and, as a result, agricultural activities can have a significant impact on natural resources in a coastal area, with particularly important effects on the quality and flows of water and on natural habitats;
- where tourism or other capital-intensive activities are developed in coastal areas, land tenure may become fragile for smallholders with limited capacity to defend their interests, or they may be highly tempted to sell productive agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes;
- agriculture may play a key role in the local economy, either through the production of food or by providing raw materials to industry, and thus has strategic and political significance;
- in many developing countries a large percentage of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, although this tends to be less significant with regard to coastal populations.