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Antigua and Barbuda
Environment and health
Centuries of unsustainable agricultural practices, particularly those related to the sugar industry, have reduced the fertility of the limited agricultural land and primed soil erosion trends. Overall, production is good for a country with poor soil quality, low annual rainfall in certain areas and very limited access to international markets. However, pollution from inorganic fertilizers and pesticides occurs due to high levels of application and there is no adequate monitoring of impacts. Integrated pest management is a national government policy, but inadequate funding has constrained implementation.
Vegetative cover is also affected by the traditional use of fires to clear and prepare land. The issue of uncontrolled fires is compounded by the invasive Lemon Grass species that were introduced in the 1960s to control soil erosion, but it has spread over vast tracts of land in several of the main catchment areas and is now a major factor contributing to soil erosion.
Livestock production is characterized by unsustainable practices. Uncontrolled grazing of livestock (sheep, goats, donkeys and cattle) affects vegetative cover. This is widely perceived as one of the country's leading environmental problems.