7.1 Improving the efficiency and sustainability of rural resource use
7.2 Improving the efficiency and sustainability of farm production
7.5 Rural development
The process of SARD is of such complexity and far-reaching scope that integrated approaches are vital. Actions to promote SARD in one part of the system may fail unless supported by complementary actions in other parts of the system. So, as already noted, efforts to promote SARD within the agricultural sector will not succeed unless the right policies are in place at the macro-level and in other sectors. Integration is also needed across levels of decision making. These levels include the households of producers and consumers, local communities, the business sector, and various levels of government. Similarly, there is a need for integration across sectors, such as agriculture, education, transport and trade, as well as across disciplines and professions. People with different backgrounds and experience must learn to work together, each making his or her contribution while respecting the legitimacy of other viewpoints.
To illustrate these requirements, some features of the needed integrated approaches to SARD in various aspects of agriculture are briefly examined below.
The key components in an integrated approach to improving the efficiency and sustainability of rural resource use include:
· developing human capital through education and training, research and extension and improving information flows;
· land use planning and soil conservation, to prevent, or at least slow, land degradation and to lead to the identification and uptake of sustainable patterns of land use;
· improved water management, through the development and maintenance of infrastructure and the operation of systems of regulating water use to achieve efficient allocation between competing uses - ideally through appropriate economic incentives;
· conservation and utilization of biological diversity through appropriate in situ and ex situ programs;
· development of rural energy supplies through rural energy policies and technologies that promote a mix of fossil and renewable energy sources; and
· improved systems of resource management through better vertical information flows. Such flows may be facilitated by encouraging the fuller participation of rural people in decision making, and by the introduction of better systems for the appraisal, implementation and monitoring of policies, programs and projects.
Box 11. POLICY FAILURES FOR SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY
Adapted from Panayotou, 1994b, p. 245.
Forest policy is an excellent example of a resource-specific policy that needs to be overhauled if the link between scarcity and prices is to be established. If indeed we are facing a growing scarcity of forests, forest product prices should be rising to slow down deforestation and accelerate reforestation. At present, not only are most forest products and services not priced, but even timber, which is an internationally traded commodity, is priced below its true scarcity value due to implicit and explicit subsidies and institutional failures. Uncollected resource rents, subsidized logging on marginal and fragile lands, and volume-based taxes on timber removal encourage high grading and destructive logging. Forest concessions are typically too short to provide incentives for conservation and replanting. Failure to value non-timber goods and services results in excessive deforestation, in conflicts with local communities, in loss of economic value and in environmental damage. Promotion of local processing of timber often leads to inefficient plywood mills, excessive capacity, waste of valuable tropical timber and loss of government revenues. Replanting subsidies often end up subsidizing the conversion of valuable natural forests to inferior mono-species plantations, with the associated loss of the value of both tropical hardwoods and biological diversity.
The key component in an integrated approach to improving the efficiency and sustainability of farm production is the successful development and adoption of more productive and sustainable technologies. To this end, continued investments in agricultural research are needed, as well as the creation of an environment conducive to innovation by farmers.
The technologies to be introduced must be productive, acceptable to farmers and adapted to their needs and circumstances, and environmentally kind. Some possible approaches include:
· integrated plant nutrition systems that place greater emphasis on biological processes and recycling for the supply of nutrients, so avoiding waste and minimizing nutrient losses that may otherwise pollute water resources;
· integrated pest management systems that are effective in controlling crop and livestock losses while minimizing the use of expensive and potentially hazardous chemicals; and
· integrated grazing systems, particularly for common property grazing lands, to promote efficient forage and livestock production consistent with sustainability.
Measures required for sustainable forestry include:
· Improved forest information systems to allow better policy making and planning.
· Changes in institutional arrangements relating to property rights, the awarding of concessions and the collection of resource taxes, to prevent over-utilization and to maximize the public benefit from forest utilization.
· Improved management for the multiple use of forests. These uses may include grazing and timber production, fuel-wood and saw-log production, conservation and recreation. Improved management must also recognize and accommodate the customary rights of access and use by local communities.
· Promotion of private forestry through appropriate incentives and financing mechanisms, such as co-financing of long-term loans and good management of long-term risks such as pests, diseases and fire.
· Development and dissemination of technologies for the efficient and sustainable integration of trees into farming systems.
Box 12. THE NEED FOR INTEGRATED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF COASTAL AREAS
Source: FAO, 1994a, p. 42.
Two-thirds of marine fish production come from stocks which spend the first and most vulnerable stages of their life cycles in coastal areas. These areas are under serious threat.
Coastal waters are the recipient of eroded soil, pesticides, fertilizers and other pollutants. Coastal area damage is particularly acute in tropical developing countries where both natural and economic conditions contribute to high vulnerability. In these countries, population growth and migration to coastal cities and regions are leading to increases in municipal and industrial discharges and landfill, mangrove clearing, coral mining and other construction-related damage. In some countries, siltation is becoming severe due to deforestation, the construction of lumber roads and land clearing. Intensified agriculture is contributing increasing amounts of pesticides and herbicides to coastal waters.
To tackle the issue, efforts are being made to ensure that plans for the development of coastal areas - both at the area and the sectoral level - integrate all aspects of the problem. This approach is generally known as Integrated Coastal Area Management.
Responsible fishing means that the activity must be conducted in a way that is ecologically sound and socially just, respecting biological, ecosystem and cultural diversity, in order to guarantee sustainable production.
The attainment of responsible fisheries management will require policies that include:
· the development of a legal framework for fisheries, covering systems of property and use rights, and institutional arrangements to regulate and control the size and nature of catches;
· recognizing the difficulty in monitoring changes in wild aquatic ecosystems, and therefore adopting a precautionary approach to management, for example by setting catch limits at prudent levels;
· the parallel development of measures to educate and encourage local producers and consumers to participate in the management of their marine, lacustrine and riverine ecosystems;
· the introduction of integrated systems of watershed and coastal area management that takes account of the fishery resources in or adjacent to those systems (see Box 12);
· the development of fishing and aquaculture technologies that are productive but consistent with sustainable production and protection of the environment; and
· the negotiation and enforcement of international agreements to protect open access oceanic fish stocks from over-exploitation.
Rural development embraces all the above sorts of measures for the sustainable development of farming, forestry and rural fisheries. However, in addition, SARD will require complementary initiatives in general rural development, including provision of government services for law and order, education, health, etc.
Particularly in countries where agricultural land and water resources are scarce or are of poor quality, there may not be the capacity to develop primary rural production fast enough to provide sustainable livelihoods for all the people. If unacceptable rates of out-migration from these areas are to be prevented, rurally-based industries need to be developed. Rural development policies directed to this end will include:
· Selective and targeted improvements to local infrastructure, including the development of suitable sites for small-scale industries.
· Provision of incentives for investors to locate businesses in rural areas. For example, this may mean making sure that factories or other facilities established in the main urban centres pay the full social costs of locating there, such as the costs of additional congestion and pollution. Providing formal schooling and vocational training for the rural population can also encourage investors to locate businesses in rural areas.
· Provision of appropriate government services in rural areas, including small business development agencies.