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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 .

MHRM 2011-13

Challenges for sustainable agriculture in India

Submitted to: (Prof.)Bhagirath Behera sir


Challenges for Sustainable Agriculture in India

Submitted by: Dilip Jha (11HS60016)


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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 TABLE OF CONTENT

S.NO. 1. ABSTRACT 2. INTRODUCTION 3. DEFINATION 4. OBJECTIVE 5. INDICATOR & CRITERIA 6. IMPLICATION FOR RESEARCH 7. EXTERNALITIES AND MEASURNMENT SUSTAINABLITY 8. CHALLENGE FOR SUSTAIBABLE AGRICULTURE IN COMMENWEALTH 9. METHODOLOGY 10. BIG CHALLENGES 11. BIO DIVERSITY 12. CONCLUSION 13. REFERENCES

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 1.0 ABSTRACT This paper proposes such a framework based on an identification of agricultural production systems at different levels and their linkages, assessments of production requirements and supplies over time, tradeoffs between production increases and the quality of the natural resource base, and the capabilities of knowledge and technologies to alter the balance of tradeoffs. The paper also identifies the challenges posed to the existing agricultural research in India in the transition towards sustainable agriculture. Indias National Agricultural Policy accords high priority to the sustainability of agriculture. ICAR and the State Agricultural Universities, which comprise the National Agricultural Research System (NARS), also emphasize the importance of incorporating the sustainability perspective into their research programmers. But this requires an analytical framework for sustainable agriculture that can guide a transition from research and education directed towards productivity goals to research that addresses productivity issues keeping sustainability concerns in sight. 2.0 introduction The National Agricultural Policy (Ministry of Agriculture, 2000) of the Government of India aims at agricultural growth (4% annually to 2020) with sustainability, by a path that will be determined by three important factors: technologies, globalization, and markets. Agricultural research and education of the future must therefore address two related challenges: increasing agricultural productivity and profitability to keep pace with demand, and ensuring long-term sustainability of production. The National Agricultural Research System (NARS) deals with the first challenge. Development of short-duration, high-yielding cultivars, irrigation, and intensive use of fertilizers and other agrochemicals provided the technological basis for increasing agricultural production and the green revolution. Central to the adoption of green revolution technologies were the micro or farm economics which governed the use of inputs such as land, cultivar, labour, machinery, and chemicals balanced against profits from crop yields - and the macro economics that ensured better access to inputs and markets. The research and education systems have evolved within this framework with a commodity productivity focus. Sustainability as a goal of agricultural research and development is a relatively recent Concept. In recent years, national and international research organizations have responded to the increasing importance of sustainability in agricultural development. The Indian council Of agricultural research (icar) has also revised its mandate; its new vision statement reads, to harness science to ensure sustained physical, economic, and ecological access to food and Livelihood security to all through generation, assessment, refinement, and adoption of Appropriate technologies," (icar, 1999). Nearly all institutions of icar and state Agricultural universities (saus), which constitute the nars, have new vision statements Focusing on "productivity with sustainability" Development of analytical framework for sustainability Central to the analytical framework is a set of acceptable definitions, objectives, indicators And their criteria, and technologies which can contribute to the practice of sustainable Agriculture while maintaining the focus on increasing agricultural productivity and Profitability. Definitions: any definition of sustainability must recognize its multiple dimensions: Physical , economic, ecological, social, cultural and ethical. Sustainability can be defined only in the boundaries of a systems framework, that is, after specification of what is to be sustained. Choosing the boundary is difficult because agricultural systems operate at multiple Levels: soil-plant system,

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 cropping system or farming system, agro-ecosystem and so on to Higher regional, national, and global levels (lynam, 1994). The level chosen thus also defines The spatial scale of operation for the definition. Decisions at the farm level have impacts at the agroecosystem and higher levels and vice versa. The linkages between agricultural Systems at different levels of hierarchy (spatial scales) are important. The us congress arrived at an acceptable definition for sustainable agriculture (Stuart And Robinson, 1997) for the usda and its agricultural research service (ars) after Considerable national debate. The definition broadly allows addressing issues for systems at Different levels and the linkages between the systems up to the agro-ecosystem level. By this Definition, an agricultural production system is sustainable if, over the long term, it enhances Or maintains the productivity and profitability of farming in the region, conserves or enhances The integrity and diversity of both the agricultural production system and the surrounding Natural ecosystem, and also enhances health, safety, and aesthetic satisfaction of both Consumers and producers. Reduced use of synthetic chemical inputs, biological pest control, use of organic Manures, soil and water conservation practices, crop rotations, biological nitrogen fixation, Etc., are all relevant and important technological components of sustainable agriculture. But central to the concept of sustainability is the integration of these components in a systems3 framework at specified levels and to meet specified objectives. The above definition may be considered an acceptable starting point for the Indian NARS as well. Objectives: It is important to clarify the sustainability objectives: What is to be sustained, for how long, and at what level? These questions have to do with national or regional policies and goals for agricultural production. For example, in view of India's large population and for strategic reasons, food production goals have been synonymous with food self-sufficiency. On the other hand, China, which also with a large population, has recently been forced to giving up the goal of self sufficiency in food grains because of severe water shortages (Brown, 2001). Thus sustainability objectives will be governed by national or regional policies for agriculture in particular, the economy in general, and by the supply capacity of natural resource base. Indicators and Criteria: Sustainability indicators are quantifiable and measurable variables that can be used to evaluate system performance with relation to its objectives. Since sustainability concerns system behaviour over time, a sustainable system is one with a nonnegative trend in these variables. Technology adds to sustainability if it adds to the slope of the trend line. Because of its multidimensionality, a suite of indicators will be required to make realistic assessments about sustainability. provides an indicative list of such indicators. Sustainable indicators are in following hierarchical level are: Cropping system/farming system. Agro ecosystem (watershed, agro zone, etc.). Global, National, Regional system. Cropping system/farming system:-Sustainability indicators (economic, social & environmental) non negative trends are: Farm productivity Net farm income Total factor productivity Health Soil quality Page 4

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 Farmer skills Time spent in other social culture activities Farm water use efficiency Debt-service ratio

Agro ecosystem:- Sustainability indicators non negative trends are: Soil loss Regional income Regional production Surface water quality Ground water quality Regional total factor productivity Species diversity Global, National, Regional System:-indefinitely meet demands at acceptable social, economic and environment costs. Technologies: The recent revolutions in biotechnology and genetics, and in information and communication technologies, radically change the conceptual framework of managing agricultural production systems. Another dimension is added by the recent realization of the gains that can be obtained by the inclusion of ancient wisdom and knowledge acquired by generations of local farmers in sustainable management of resources. These developments, when complemented with knowledge from conventional agricultural research, hold the key to ensuring both sustainability and productivity increases in agricultural production. framework at specified levels and to meet specified objectives. The above definition may be considered an acceptable starting point for the Indian NARS as well. Objectives: It is important to clarify the sustainability objectives: What is to be sustained, for how long, and at what level? These questions have to do with national or regional policies and goals for agricultural production. For example, in view of India's large population and for strategic reasons, food production goals have been synonymous with food self-sufficiency. On the other hand, China, which also with a large population, has recently been forced to giving up the goal of self sufficiency in food grains because of severe water shortages (Brown, 2001). Thus sustainability objectives will be governed by national or regional policies for agriculture in particular, the economy in general, and by the supply capacity of natural resource base. Indicators and Criteria: Sustainability indicators are quantifiable and measurable variables that can be used to evaluate system performance with relation to its objectives. Since sustainability concerns system behavior over time, a sustainable system is one with a nonnegative trend in these variables. Technology adds to sustainability if it adds to the slope of the trend line. Because of its multidimensionality, a suite of indicators will be required to make realistic assessments about sustainability. TABLE 1 provides an indicative list of such indicators. Technologies: The recent revolutions in biotechnology and genetics, and in information and communication technologies, radically change the conceptual framework of managing agricultural production systems. Another dimension is added by the recent realization of the gains that can be obtained by the inclusion of ancient wisdom and knowledge acquired by generations of local farmers in sustainable management of resources. These developments, when complemented with knowledge from conventional agricultural research, hold the key to ensuring both sustainability and productivity increases in agricultural production. The new biotechnologies do not hold the same promise of providing quantum jumps in crop yields as the green revolution technologies did. The World Bank estimates that biotechnologies can help increase crop yields in rice by 10- 20 percent in the next 10 years (Serageldin, 1999). But they have the potential for speeding up the research (for example biotechnology permits faster transfer of genes), and doing "maintenance research" which is research Challenges for Sustainable Agriculture in India Page 5

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 that helps prevent losses in yield and allows crop to use fewer inputs. Examples are the incorporation of genes for pest resistance, improved storage and packaging, fixing nitrogen from soil, etc. Similarly improved resource management through the use of information technologies permits more efficient use of inputs for the same level of crop yields, thus reduces the deterioration of natural resource quality. Whereas the green revolution technologies led to quantum jumps in crop yields, the new biotechnologies and information technologies, as well as the indigenous technologies and knowledge, are tools for achieving incremental advances in yields and maintaining the yields in a sustainable fashion. The Framework: The framework of sustainable agriculture is determined by: 1. The food demand of the growing population and economy (sustainability goals), and the supply limits set by carrying capacities of the agro ecosystem (system capacities), 2. The tradeoffs between agricultural productivity and quality of the natural resource base in different regions/agro ecosystems as assessed by trends in suitable sustainability indicators, (Are the levels and growth of production sustainable?), and 3. Emerging technologies and improved management strategies that can shift the tradeoffs towards improving both sustainability and productivity. (Can prospects for long term sustainability be improved with new technologies and management?) The framework is to be applied at two levels considered relevant to the NARS: the crop production system level and the agro ecosystem level. Keep in mind that for agriculture to be sustainable, it must be profitable in the short term. Thus two time perspectives-- the short term and long term--are also needed. The sustainability indicators of profitability and social concerns based on income generation and distribution are effective in the short term compared to the ecosystem health indicators, which require a longer time to take effect The analytical framework is complete when the systems at different hierarchical levels are linked (FIGURE 1) in a scheme that permits the three questions above to be asked and answered at each level. Implications for Research The above framework helps define a vision for agricultural research, target it effectively to prioritize investments and set production and productivity goals at various levels that match national goals. But, it calls for a major paradigm shift in agricultural research and education from the current commodity and input- based approach to management of agricultural resources, to and approach that emphasizes a systems framework and process-knowledge base management to increase production. The new emphasis is on alternatives to agrochemical use and increasing the rates of existing biological processes to control nutrient cycling and pests. The concept of economic discounting of future value of natural resources is also altered. All of these will place far greater demands on research capacity and farmer knowledge (Lyman and Herdt, 1989). They will also require agricultural research to become more grounded in theory than it has been so far. Other major issues for agricultural research policy and design are described below. Characterization of Systems: Research designs for sustainability will require clear characterization of production systems, agro ecosystems and their boundaries, the marketing systems, and the linkages between them. Setting objectives: An appropriate balance is required between commodity focused research based on intensive use of agrochemicals (which formed the research paradigm up to now and which was

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 responsible for the green revolution) and the resource management focused research (which forms the backbone of research within the sustainability paradigm)..

Fig: Analytical framework for sustainable agriculture (adopted from Barnett etal, 1995) Research prioritization: Higher priority would be needed for research on systems which currently are tending towards unsustainability. and to problems which are contributing most to the degradation of the system. Externalities and measurement of sustainability: Research will have to be initiated on identification and measurement of externalities and tradeoffs to develop sustainability indicators for agricultural systems at different levels. This research will be interdisciplinary and will need interactions with economics and ecology, and between theory and experiment. Farmer response: The demands on farmer knowledge and responses will be much higher For sustainable agriculture than for traditional agriculture.

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 The organizational challenge: Incorporating the sustainability perspective into research policy, design, and management will require important organizational changes in the Indian NARS. Major changes in all the three vital organizational components, namely, its structure, systems, and skills will be required.

1. Many of the impacts of research with a sustainability perspective are measurable not at the farmer's field level but at the higher regional level. For the technologies to take effect at this level, they must be deployed sufficiently widely by a large number of farmers. Thus new technologies resulting from research must be brought to scale before they can deliver the objectives at the regional level. 2. The sustainability perspective requires frequent interactions and feedback between simulation modelling (improving process knowledge) and empirical field experiments New multidisciplinary research teams, designs and skills will need to be developed to ensure effective interaction between modelling and field research. 3. Unlike commodity research, whose main clients are individual farmers, the new research counts among its clients: farmers, groups of farmers, and policy makers. Organizational linkages will need to be built for interaction between the stakeholders at all these levels. Sustaining agriculture in the Commonwealth: The challenge The management and conservation of the natural resource base, and the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for present and future generations. Such sustainable development conserves land, water, plant and animal genetic resources, is environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable. There is a fundamental difference of opinion in the interpretation of sustainable agriculture in terms of whether the emphasis should be on the production aspects or on natural resource conservation. Protagonists of intensive agriculture, agricultural biotechnology and free trade favour the argument that agriculture is not sustainable if it does not feed the world, and they cite the millions of people who are starving and malnourished as justification to further intensify agriculture. This group also cites the successes of the Green Revolution in improving agricultural yields, and is optimistic about the potential of agricultural biotechnology. There is a fundamental difference of opinion in the interpretation of sustainable agriculture in terms of whether the emphasis should be on the production aspects or on natural resource conservation. Protagonists of intensive agriculture, agricultural biotechnology and free trade favour the argument that agriculture is not sustainable if it does not feed the world, and they cite the millions of people who are starving and malnourished as justification to further intensify agriculture. This group also cites the successes of the Green Revolution in improving agricultural yields, and is optimistic about the potential of agricultural biotechnology. The alternative perspective is that food security is not solely dependent on agricultural productivity, and that by placing greater emphasis on the conservation of land, water, plant and animal genetic resources, more people will have access to food, and the potential for sustaining or enhancing productivity levels will be maintained. This group points to the mounting problems of agricultural pollution, soil erosion and degradation, loss of agricultural biodiversity and inequitable access to the means of production and exchange as causes for concern.

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 This latter perspective is broadly accepted and adopted by a significant number of development organisations and academics. One of the leading voices in the UK on sustainable agriculture is Jules Pretty, formerly at the International Institute for Environment and Development, and now leading the Centre for Environment and Society (University of Essex): The basic challenge for sustainable agriculture is to make better use of available biophysical and human resources. This can be done by minimising the use of external inputs and by utilising and regenerating local or internal resources more effectively. A more sustainable agriculture systematically pursues five goals:

Thorough integration of natural processes such as nutrient cycling, nitrogen fixation, soil regeneration and pest-predator relationships into agricultural production processes, so ensuring profitable and efficient food production whilst increasing natural capital Minimisation of the use of those external and non-renewable inputs that damage the environment or harm the health of farmers and consumers, and a targeted use of the remaining inputs used with a view to minimising costs Improvement in the welfare and quality of life of farm animals Full participation of farmers and other rural people in all processes of problem analysis, and technology development, adaptation and extension (including a greater use of farmers knowledge and practices in combination with new technologies emerging from research), leading to an increase in local self-reliance and social capital Enhancement of both the quality and quantity of wildlife, water, landscape and other public goods of the countryside (Source: Pretty 1998)2

Methodology In trying to understand how and why agricultural systems in the Commonwealth might be failing, it is necessary to take a comprehensive look at all of the elements that impact upon the sustainability of agriculture. The UK Department for

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13

International Development (DFID) has developed a framework approach for analysing such complex interactions. The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework identifies five core asset categories or types of capital upon which livelihoods are built (Table 1), and these are equally applicable to the sustainability of farming and agriculture. Increasing access to these assets which can take the form of ownership or the right to use is the challenge. Human capital Given long-term concerns over the rapid escalation of the global population, particularly in less developed countries, it might seem strange to consider the availability of human capital as a serious limitation on agricultural productivity. However raw population statistics do not tell the whole story. In many parts of the Commonwealth there is a shortage of labour. Some of this shortage is due to civil unrest (see Social capital), some is a result of economic migration (people leaving the countryside to seek employment in the cities), but some is also due to illness. Big challenges Health A fit and healthy working population is imperative for development. The gap between rich and poor countries in terms of public health provision is stark and widening, at a time when old and new challenges are threatening the welfare and productivity if not the very survival of tens of millions of people in developing countries.

Resources In the industrialised countries of the Commonwealth, health spending is around six per cent of GDP, and GDP per capita is over $PPP* 20,000. In the developing countries of the Commonwealth, spending on health ranges from 0.8 to 3.6 per cent of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa, 0.4 to 4.5 per cent in the Caribbean, 2.5 to 4.8 per cent in the Pacific region, and 0.7 to 1.7 per cent in most of the Asian bloc. GDP per capita ($PPP) ranges from 490 to 7,000 in much of sub-Saharan Africa and South

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 Africa 9,400, 3,600 to 9,000 in much of the Caribbean, 1,600 to 5,000 in the Pacific region, and 1,600 to 2,300 in most of the Asian bloc (Malaysia $PPP 9,000). Old challenges For both malaria and TB, official data may reflect only a fraction of the true number of cases. Malaria is endemic in many regions of Commonwealth sub-Saharan Africa Ghana, Gambia, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique have the highest incidences (15,00035,000 cases per 100,000 people). Recorded cases of TB are highest (200500 cases per 100,000 people) in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Malawi. In the Pacific region, high rates of malaria (17,000 per 100,000) are recorded in the Solomon Islands, and TB is prominent in Papua New Guinea (278 per 100,000). In Asia, malaria is common in Sri Lanka (1,111 per 100,000) and TB is recorded at 123 cases per 100,000 in India. Meningitis also poses a major health threat in many regions of the developing world. Potable water, displaced persons Outbreaks of cholera are not uncommon where access to safe, potable water is limited. In much of sub-Saharan Africa only 50 to 60 per cent of people have access to improved water sources, in the Caribbean region the figure is 80 to 90 per cent, in the Pacific region 50 to 90 per cent, and in Asia 80100 per cent. Water-borne diseases are also commonly recorded where there are massive population displacements due to civil strife. Four Commonwealth African countries alone (Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya) are host to 1.375 million refugees. A total of 2.38 million refugees have fled six African countries (Burundi, Sudan, Angola, Sierra Leone, DRC and Rwanda). Both India and Pakistan have large refugee populations.

Gender The role of rural women in producing food should not be underestimated. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO): Both women and men play critical roles in agriculture throughout the world, producing, processing and providing the food we eat. Rural women in particular are responsible for half of the worlds food production and produce between 60 and 80 per cent of the food in most developing countries. Yet, despite their contribution to global food security, women farmers are frequently underestimated and overlooked in development strategies.9 Women can find it harder than men to get access to credit and to be taken seriously by officials and politicians, and they can face discrimination in disputes over land or access to natural resources. Addressing these inequalities must be a priority if one is looking to maximise the potential of all agricultural production. Social capital Civil unrest is often the most visible problem with wars, coups, military unrest and civil disobedience clearly evident across many countries, even throughout the Commonwealth. For example, the current political instability in Zimbabwe is causing massive upheaval to the countrys agriculture and economy. But though it is clearly evident it is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges for sustainable agriculture to overcome. There is often little or nothing that farmers can do about the upheaval, and problems can be long-lasting, with unrest resulting in: Human displacement with families, communities and sometimes races being dispersed and scared to return

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 Loss of agricultural biodiversity with farmers dependent on farm-saved seeds being unable to harvest their crops there is a great risk of irretrievably losing a huge wealth of biodiversity preserved in landraces that have been carefully selected over generations Loss of indigenous knowledge just as illnesses such as HIV/AIDS can wipe out the knowledge of generations, so can civil unrest, with the young being taken from the land to fight, rather than staying with their families to learn the skills and knowledge to farm the land Loss of market place at an international level, once the major multiple retailers have seen supply chains disrupted, for commercial reasons they are likely to seek replacement sources for their produce, so that even if communities are able to rebuild their farming systems successfully they might find that they no longer have the market to sell their produce While the vexed question of good governance continues to tax the minds of the international donor community and the financial institutions, and little can be done by farmers or NGOs based in developing countries to address civil unrest, a number of development programmes do focus on initiatives that encourage farmers to cooperate and collaborate across a wide area. Farming in the Commonwealth, as in the UK, can be a solitary activity, so programmes that seek to unite farming communities can be beneficial in enhancing their stability and sometimes avoiding some of the pressures that can lead to local divisions and unrest. Natural capital The degradation of natural resources is one of the symptoms of unsustainable agriculture. Evidence of this can be easily found the world over. Soil erosion, land degradation, deforestation, low soil fertility and other natural resource depletion episodes are commonplace. Some represent more of a threat to the sustainability of agriculture than others and there seems to be particular concern over the impact in a reduction in the availability of water, as Kydd et al state:

Smallholders access to natural resources is being challengedin the drier parts of the world increased output, and particularly intensification of yields, is dependent on access to water which is becoming scarcer and more expensive This poses the question, where poorer farmers do not have access to water (because water may not come with the land) whether this access can be provided by water markets and/or the improvement and extension of state or collective arrangements for water supply. 12 In farming there is a serious debate over the appropriate level of response to water shortages. Large scale dams and vast irrigation projects can have significant environmental and social impacts, yet small-scale approaches can have limited benefits. Today, around 3,800 km3 of fresh water is withdrawn annually from the worlds lakes, rivers and aquifers. This is twice the volume extracted 50 years ago. Agriculture accounts for about 67 per cent of withdrawals, industry uses 19 percent and municipal and domestic uses account for nine percent. By the end of the 20th century, there were over 45,000 dams in over 150 countries. About one fifth of the worlds agricultural land is irrigated, and irrigated agriculture accounts for about 40 per cent of the worlds agricultural production. Half the worlds large dams were built exclusively or primarily for irrigation, and an estimated 30 to 40 per cent of the 271 million hectares of irrigated lands worldwide rely on dams. Dams are estimated to contribute between 1216 per cent of world food production. However, dams, inter-basin transfers, and water withdrawals for irrigation have fragmented 60 per cent of the worlds rivers. In Africa, the changed hydrological regime of rivers has adversely affected floodplain agriculture, fisheries, pasture and forests that constituted the organising element of community livelihood and culture. In India and China together, large dams could have displaced between 2658 million people between 1950 and 1990. Little or no meaningful participation of affected people in the planning and implementation of dam projects including

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 resettlement and rehabilitation has taken place. Environmental Impact Assessment is recorded for less than 40 per cent of dams commissioned in the 1990s. With few exceptions, there has been little or no monitoring of the physical, social and environmental effects of dams. By 2025 there will be approximately 3.5 billion people living in water-stressed countries, so what are the best options to try to restore adequate access to water? Two case studies, in Belize (page 9) and Malawi (page 11), reflecting the different approaches of the large and small-scale alternatives, show the clear preferred option of local communities. However as demand for water continues to grow there must be a doubt over whether such small-scale solutions will be enough on their own, or rather whether it would be better to change the way in which large scale projects are planned, implemented and managed.

Biodiversity Agricultural biodiversity is the result of the interaction by smallholder farmers, herders and artisanal fisher folk with other species over millennia. Selecting and managing these for a local nutritional, social and economic need has produced the agricultural biodiversity on which humanity depends. Food production systems need to be rooted in sustaining agricultural biodiversity so that farmers everywhere can continue to provide food and livelihoods and maintain life on Earth. At a time of unprecedented changes in society, population and the environment, agricultural biodiversity also provides some security against future adversity, be it from climate change, war, industrial developments, biotechnological calamities or ecosystem collapse. There is greater strength in diversity than in susceptible uniformity. A diversity of varieties, breeds and species will ensure that there will continue to be agricultural production whatever the threat, and hidden in the genetic code of todays crop plants and livestock are many invisible traits that may become useful in confronting future challenges. However, agricultural biodiversity is under threat from changes in production systems. More than 90 per cent of crop varieties have been lost from farmers fields in the past century. Animal breeds are also disappearing at the rate of five per cent per year (FAO 1998). In place of this diversity of farmers varieties, consumers are being provided more and more with homogeneous, uniform, food commodities produced from a limited range of varieties developed and owned by plant breeding companies.

To survive, humanity will need to make sure that the genes of our crops, livestock, other food species and the agricultural biodiversity of which they are a part, are continuously under development in farmers fields. Backup storage of these genes, frozen in time in international gene and semen banks and free of the threat of patenting, will keep a limited part of the diversity in the public domain and Accessible to all farmers and growers. Vigilance is required, however, to safeguard these resources from contamination by genetically modified organisms both in gene banks and in farmers fields, especially those in areas where crops originated. The global community must also ensure these genetic resources are freely available to all forever. Farmers actions, publicly-funded gene banks, the Seed Treaty and consumer choice for diversity in their food will, together, provide opportunities and incentives for a more food secure future. With official support and through a virtuous circle of consumers supporting farmers to produce the diversity of nutrients, textures and tastes that consumers want and need, agricultural biodiversity will thrive. Agricultural biodiversity is the basis of the worlds food supply, farm livelihoods and landscapes and is humanitys insurance against future threats to food and farming. A growing number of initiatives are being put in place to ensure the living preservation of agricultural biodiversity.

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13 Conclusions The 54 countries of the Commonwealth (comprising 30 per cent of global population) with their multiplicity of races, cultures, natural resource endowments and ecologies offer a truly unique multifaceted prism through which to view the richness of the human condition. Their diversity clearly demonstrates that no single policy prescription will be appropriate for all situations. Large-scale, large impact approaches might fit certain circumstances, small-scale, low impact approaches might be more appropriate elsewhere. The two options should not be not mutually exclusive, but deserve equal recognition and resource allocation. What does seem to be the same throughout the Commonwealth is the persistent poverty (as recognised nearly 50 years ago by the UN Conference on Food and Agriculture) and growing social exclusion (including rich and poor countries alike). What is also common is our interdependence. We share the same planet, are all affected by the changes to climate and the biosphere, depend on the same diversity of resources and are bound by international economic arrangements. There are manifest problems in terms of enabling adequate access to the five DFID capitals identified above in this report and these problems will require a concerted effort if they are to be redressed. There will need to be firm resolution and positive action to empower vulnerable rural communities and to enable them to help themselves. Initial steps to enhance their capacity could include: Enabling less-developed countries to negotiate meaningfully at WTO/AoA A definitive and equitable solution to the debt burden, together with progress toward good governance and reallocation of public resources towards more sustainable development goals (such as agriculture, health and training) Greater investment in small-scale farming systems and research, rural infrastructure and environmental conservation.

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Dilip Jha . 11HS60016 . MHRM 2011-13

References

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