Natural Resources
     and Environment

News, Publications & Announcements

August 2001
Organic Agriculture in Senegal

Senegal is a country in the Sahel of 219.253 km², with a population nearing 9,240,000 inhabitants (1999). The agricultural sector is comprised of 6,990,000 inhabitants (1999), almost 75% of the population. The annual growth rate is 2.6% (1998). Agriculture plays a predominant role in the socioeconomic life of Senegal. The rural population active in agriculture represents 73.7% of the total Senegalese population active in the agricultural sector (2000). From 1990-95, agriculture contributed 20.8% to the gross domestic product (GDP): 10.6% for agriculture, 7.6% for animal breeding, 2.1% for fishing and 0.5% for forestry. Agriculture faces a number of ecological constraints, which vary from region to region. Some of these constraints include: salinity, acidity, erosion, wind erosion of the soil, unavailability of land for grazing, overgrazing, deforestation (resulting from population growth and from the destruction of land cover), desertification and the risk of a loss of equilibrium between freshwater and salt water. These problems, many of which are the result of poor agricultural management, are compounded by the precarious nature of the climate (weak and irregular rains) and threatened by agricultural exploitation. Furthermore, land degradation and a general threat to natural resources pose additional problems. At the social level, the policies ...

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Genetic Resources & Biodiversity  
June 2001
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg 2002

The Johannesburg summit is a follow-up of the first Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Earth Summit represented a turning point in the way we look at environment and development; world leaders adopted Agenda 21, a blue print to attain sustainable development in the 21st century.FAO is task manager for many of the land-related chapters of Agenda 21, chiefly, chapter 10 (Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources), chapter 11 (Combating Deforestation), chapter 13 (Sustainable Mountain Development) and on chapter 14 (Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development: SARD). It is also a major partner in the implementation of several chapters of Agenda 21, notably, chapters 12 (Combating Desertification and Drought), 15 (Biological Diversity), 17 (Oceans and Seas) 18 (Freshwater) and 19 (Toxic Chemicals). FAO is actively involved in contributing to the Rio+10 process and particularly as regards the preparation of documentation for the intergovernmental process. FAO looks forward to Rio+10 as it will provide a unique opportunity to draw to the attention of world leaders some of the key challenges and opportunities the global community faces in the implementation of various chapters of Agenda 21 for which it is a leader and major partner. We trust the ...

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Geo-Information  -Climate Change  -Genetic Resources & Biodiversity  
June 2001
Strengthening pastoral institutions in North-West China pastoral area to access improved extension services for risk management and poverty alleviation

Located in the central part of western China, Qinghai Province is one of the poorest provinces in China. Dari County, the case study area, is located in the south-eastern part of Qinghai-Tibetan High Plateau. Due to Dari’s special geographical location with an average altitude ranging from 3500 to 4000 meters above the sea level, extensive pastoral production systems play an overwhelming role in the local economy. However, the harsh climate determines a high-risk environment and the mainly Tibetan herders are living under difficult and poor conditions with very weak risk prevention and avoiding capacities and capabilities.This report documents the in-depth situation assessment on Pastoral Risk Management and Poverty Alleviation, in Dari County. It identifies the current risks and poverty evidences existing in the county and it compares perceptions, and recomendations of different stakeholders to improve current pastoral risks management approaches and practice.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Climate Change  
May 2001
Tertiary Education for Mid-Career Level Extension Personnel: Ghana Case Study

What can you show employees if you can't show them the money? The answer sounds almost simple-minded: Improved job performance and satisfaction. The poor performance of African national extension systems is often linked to the low educational level and dwindling motivational levels of most frontline extension personnel.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Research & Extension  
April 2001
From agriculture to rural development: Critical choices for agriculture education

Making the leap from a concentration on production agriculture to a focus on rural development presents traditional agricultural education systems with difficult choices. The paper suggests that the choice is not whether to adapt to change but what changes to make. Rural development is a complex process that demands sustainable production agriculture, natural resources management, institutions, infrastructure, health, education, markets, finance, policy, local government, and education in order to succeed. Agricultural education systems from universities to non-formal adult education have to decide how much change they need to make to meet the expectations of an expanded and diverse population of stakeholders and remain relevant. Various authors have, over the past fifteen to twenty years, stressed the importance of institutional reaction to the pressures of change but action has been limited. The paper suggests that increasing competition from other educational institutions and non-traditional sources makes a strong and urgent case for agricultural education systems to make changes in order to influence a wide range of stakeholders including those in academia, in farming and non-farming rural areas, policy makers, and the private sector. The alternative is to become less and less relevant. What is needed is the vision to sense the future ...

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Communication & Education  

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