• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Background
 What is sustainability?
 Constraints on change
 Factors of particular concern
 The relationship between the new...
 Initial suggested outline for future...
 How does a sustainability emphasis...
 What are the next steps
 How to implement the next...
 Summary of environmental groups-paper...






Title: Emphasis on sustainability of agricultural development as a guiding principle in implementing the new A.I.D. agricultural focus; a working paper
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Title: Emphasis on sustainability of agricultural development as a guiding principle in implementing the new A.I.D. agricultural focus; a working paper
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Language: English
Creator: Furtick, William R.
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Subject: Farming   ( lcsh )
Agriculture   ( lcsh )
Farm life   ( lcsh )
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Table of Contents
    Background
        Page 1
    What is sustainability?
        Page 2
    Constraints on change
        Page 2
    Factors of particular concern
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    The relationship between the new focus and sustainability
        Page 7
    Initial suggested outline for future A.I.D. program emphasis on sustainability
        Page 7
        Page 8
    How does a sustainability emphasis differ from what A.I.D. is now doing?
        Page 9
    What are the next steps
        Page 10
    How to implement the next steps
        Page 11
    Summary of environmental groups-paper on sustainability
        Page S 1
        Page S 2
Full Text




WORKING PAPER

EMPHASIS ON SUSTAINABILITY OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
AS A GUIDING PRINCIPLE IN IMPLEMENTING
THE NEW A.I.D. AGRICULTURAL FOCUS


Background:

As A.I.D. moves toward implementation of its new agricultural focus, a variety
of domestic and global factors are converging to create a growing demand by
environmentalists, a diverse group of scholars, various donors and
international agencies, the general public and thus the U.S. Congress, to
examine more closely the long term impact of current agricultural development
practices both domestically and abroad. Major factors causing this new
examination of agricultural practices in the U.S. are the result of the farm
belt recession, general U.S. agricultural overproduction, high cost of
agricultural subsidies, and ground water contaminations and other side effects
of high levels of fertilizer and other agricultural chemical uses that are
directed at maximizing yield in an era of excessive production in relation to
market demand. There has also been increasing awareness of soil erosion and
the salinization of some irrigated lands. The end result domestically has
been increased interest in less intensive types of agricultural production
with terminologies such as sustainable agriculture, regenerative agriculture
and low input agriculture gaining prominence. There is pending legislation in
the U.S. Congress to direct A.I.D. to emphasize these concepts in its
agricultural programs.

From an international standpoint, the concern has focused on desertification,
.destruction of tropical forests, waterlogging and salinization of irrigated
lands, destruction of swamps and other wetlands, degradation of uplands by
soil erosion, over use of pesticides on some crops and loss of genetic
diversity caused by these various factors. As a result there is growing
demand internationally for maintaining the natural resource base by stopping
these forms of degradation and for reclamation of already degraded areas by
aforestation, drainage of irrigated soils, reduced livestock pressure and
marginal cropping of semi arid lands etc. The term sustainable agriculture
and sustainable development have become frequently used terms denoting these
changes in emphasis. The World Bank has commissioned papers on this subject,
and Dr. E. T. York has drafted a paper for the Technical Advisory Committee of
the CGIAR.

Ambassador Robert O. Blake of the International Institute for Environment and
Development on behalf of an informal federation of environmental private
voluntary organizations sent A.I.D. Administrator Peter McPherson their Ad Hoc
Committee on Sustainable Agriculture in Developing Countries paper entitled
"The Transition to Sustainable Agriculture: An Agenda for A.I.D.". This has
some inter relationship with a paper under preparation by the Office of
Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress dealing with the "Potential for Low
Resource Agriculture for Africa". A summary of the "Blake Paper" is attached.

Because of the general global interest and building pressure on A.I.D. to
respond to the demands for.greater emphasis on sustainability in agricultural
development activities, this paper has been prepared to increase internal








-2 -

dialogue within A.I.D. It is based on the thesis that this issue is one that
must be faced squarely add the sooner A.I.D. sets its own agenda on this
matter, the better it will be able to set its own course rather than have one
S imposed upon it;

What is Sustainability?

A major problem in establishing an emphasis on sustainability of agricultural
development is the lack of agreement on what the term means and includes. The
diversity in interpretation is due both to the complexity of the issues
involved and the varied perspectives of the primary interest groups. It may be
easier_toreach agreement on what it is_. than to obtain an acceptable
definition. Therefore, it would appear desirable for A.I.D. to develop its
program based on the various components and factors. Factors include such
things as technical, financial, social and political feasibility. The
components include maintaining and, where feasible, enhancing the specific
resource bases in the various agroclimatic zones and their associated farming
systems.

It is now generally accepted that with some exceptions, most arable land that
can sustain agricultural use is now already being utilized. Any further
expansion in agricultural area will largely be offset by loss of agricultural
use through conversion to urban or other utilization.. Therefore, in order to
maintain and improve per capital diet, the agricultural land base will need to
increase in productivity to at least equal population growth and the need to
diversify to meet dietary desires such as increased consumption of meat, fruit
and vegetables as incomes rise. Thus the productive capacity of current
farmlands will need to steadily increase on a sustainable basis.

In order to reduce over exploitation of fragile lands i.e., semi-arid,
uplands, tropical rainforests and wetlands, the prime agricultural land will
need to exceed population growth in increased productivity. The necessary
policy incentives will be needed to cause land use changes on the fragile
lands to reduce or eliminate their further degradation, and where economically
and technically feasible, restoration of degraded lands.

Constraints On Change

Accomplishing these objectives in a reasonable time frame in most developing
countries is hampered by inappropriate government policies and priorities and
socioeconomic realities caused by subsistence farming, nomadism, poverty and
under employment. This might be kept in perspective by examining the
agricultural adjustments and resultant changes in land use that occurred
slowly over many decades in the U.S. The high level research driven
productivity of the prime agricultural lands of North America resulted in
abandoning the agricultural use of marginal lands that tended to be the most
fragile environment. The relatively low commodity prices that efficient use
of prime agricultural lands and overproduction permitted resulted in large
areas of once agricultural land to be converted back to either grasslands or
forest. This was possible because industrialization and urbanization reduced
rural population pressures. Thus in the industrial countries of North America
and Europe, deforestation peaked during the -last century and reforestation has
been a steady process during this century. For example much of the eastern
one-fourth of the U.S. has undergone a- steady reduction in areas tilled with
most of the areas taken from cultivation converting to woodlands.








-2 -

dialogue within A.I.D. It is based on the thesis that this issue is one that
must be faced squarely add the sooner A.I.D. sets its own agenda on this
matter, the better it will be able to set its own course rather than have one
S imposed upon it;

What is Sustainability?

A major problem in establishing an emphasis on sustainability of agricultural
development is the lack of agreement on what the term means and includes. The
diversity in interpretation is due both to the complexity of the issues
involved and the varied perspectives of the primary interest groups. It may be
easier_toreach agreement on what it is_. than to obtain an acceptable
definition. Therefore, it would appear desirable for A.I.D. to develop its
program based on the various components and factors. Factors include such
things as technical, financial, social and political feasibility. The
components include maintaining and, where feasible, enhancing the specific
resource bases in the various agroclimatic zones and their associated farming
systems.

It is now generally accepted that with some exceptions, most arable land that
can sustain agricultural use is now already being utilized. Any further
expansion in agricultural area will largely be offset by loss of agricultural
use through conversion to urban or other utilization.. Therefore, in order to
maintain and improve per capital diet, the agricultural land base will need to
increase in productivity to at least equal population growth and the need to
diversify to meet dietary desires such as increased consumption of meat, fruit
and vegetables as incomes rise. Thus the productive capacity of current
farmlands will need to steadily increase on a sustainable basis.

In order to reduce over exploitation of fragile lands i.e., semi-arid,
uplands, tropical rainforests and wetlands, the prime agricultural land will
need to exceed population growth in increased productivity. The necessary
policy incentives will be needed to cause land use changes on the fragile
lands to reduce or eliminate their further degradation, and where economically
and technically feasible, restoration of degraded lands.

Constraints On Change

Accomplishing these objectives in a reasonable time frame in most developing
countries is hampered by inappropriate government policies and priorities and
socioeconomic realities caused by subsistence farming, nomadism, poverty and
under employment. This might be kept in perspective by examining the
agricultural adjustments and resultant changes in land use that occurred
slowly over many decades in the U.S. The high level research driven
productivity of the prime agricultural lands of North America resulted in
abandoning the agricultural use of marginal lands that tended to be the most
fragile environment. The relatively low commodity prices that efficient use
of prime agricultural lands and overproduction permitted resulted in large
areas of once agricultural land to be converted back to either grasslands or
forest. This was possible because industrialization and urbanization reduced
rural population pressures. Thus in the industrial countries of North America
and Europe, deforestation peaked during the -last century and reforestation has
been a steady process during this century. For example much of the eastern
one-fourth of the U.S. has undergone a- steady reduction in areas tilled with
most of the areas taken from cultivation converting to woodlands.








-3--

As the shift-toward reforestation has increased in most of the northern -
hemisphere, just the opposite has occurred widely in the southern herhisphere
with increasing rates of loss of the tropical forests-and mixed savannas. The
savannas have also become either progressively degraded=or converted to
marginal croplands. The main abandonment of agricultural lands in the LDCs
has been of irrigated land that has become water logged and/or saline to the
point profitable cropping has become impossible.

Reversing these trends in developing countries will require time and the
reduction of population pressure on the land resource by development of
alternative sources of income and reduced rates of population increases.
Therefore, from the standpoint of A.I.D., increased emphasis on sustainable
agricultural productions cannot ignore continued research directed toward
increasing the productive potential of prime agricultural lands to insure
sufficient food and cash crop productions to fill national needs at reasonable
prices that would make it politically and economically possible to initiate
programs to stop new agricultural encroachment into forests, marginal uplands
and areas vulnerable to desertification and to start reclamation efforts on
land already degraded. There is also immediate scope for reclamation of water
logged and or saline irrigated lands and improved water management to prevent
further losses.

A.I.D. efforts through the project approach on restoring degraded rangelands -
and stopping deforestation have had only limited success. A more
comprehensive examination of past effort is needed. A major shortcoming of
A.I.D. projects directed at stopping the degradation of fragile lands or
reclamation of those already degraded is that a systems approach was not
utilized, but only a single or limited number of components of the system were
involved, according to a recent retrospective study of A.I'.D. programs by the
World Bank. The study concluded it was primarily the A.I.D. approach that
limited success. There is also over exploitation of both coastal and inland
aquatic resources that need parallel consideration.

Factors of Particular Concern

Before examining the approaches A.I.D. might use to bring greater emphasis on
improving sustainability as part of its implementation of the new agricultural
focus, some of the primary factors on which the A.I.D. initiatives should
ultimately impact are briefly outlined.

1. Soil Resources

No single resource is more important to the achievement of a sustainable
agriculture than the soil. This resource provides the nutrient elements
essential for plant growth. Nutrient imbalances and soils which are
either too acid or too alkaline impose limitations on crop production.
Nutrient imbalances can be corrected through use of fertilizers,
recycling nutrients leached below the reach of crops through
agriforestry, addition of organic mulches, use of biological nitrogen
fixation, the action of michorizonal organisms on plant roots, and use of
crop species and varieties with maximum efficiency of fertilizer use.
Soil acidity and alkalinity can' be modified by chemical amendments such
as sulfur and lime, through water management and use of tolerant crops.








-4-


In many parts of the world, soil erosion-has-increased to the pint where
losses exceed the formation of new soils through weathering.: When.this
occurs, the soil is being mined, converting renewable-resources to-
non-renewable ones. When topsoil is lost through:erosion, there is a
loss of fertility and a deterioration of physical-properties resulting in
a decline in productivity. Reversal of this trend is possible through
changes in tillage and cropping patterns, planting windbreaks, mulches,
terraces, dykes, sodded water ways and other structures.

Population pressures are contributing to other difficulties in
maintaining soil productivity. As fuelwood supplies are diminished,
expanding populations in many areas have become increasingly dependent
upon crop residues and animal manures for fuel, thereby eliminating these
materials as soil regenerating amendments. Cnly more cost effective
alternative sources of animal nutrition and fuel will reverse this
process.

2. Water Resources

Agriculture is the principal user of global water supplies. From
historic times, irrigation techniques have been used to sustain
agricultural production. During the 1950's and 1960's, irrigated areas
.expanded at the rate of about 4% annually. By the early 1980's, the rate
of growth had declined to less than 1% annually.

Non-sustainable use of water is occurring in a number of agricultural
areas throughout the world. This involves both the use of fossil water
Sas well as the overdrafting of rechargeable aquifers. In both instances,
the results are declining water tables and unsustainable production
systems.

There is much evidence that irrigation water is used very inefficiently
with much more water usually transported and applied to fields than crops
require. Furthermore, poor irrigation practices result in severe
problems of land degradation through waterlogging and salinization. In
many areas of the world waterlogging and/or salinization serve as a major
constraint to the achievement of sustainability objectives. These
factors can be overcome by installing proper drainage and more efficient
water use.

3. Deterioration of Forest Resources and Rangeland

It is estimated that the amount of wood harvested per capital worldwide
reached a peak in 1964 and has fallen 11% since. The problems of
fuelwood shortages are becoming particularly acute. It is estimated that
by the end of the century some 3,000 million people could face acute
fuelwood shortages.

While the shortage of fuelwood is, in itself, an extremely serious
problem the consequences of the deforestation resulting from these
shortages is devastating in terms of their long-term effect on
sustainability of agricultural production.








-5-


- Removal of ground cover by overgrazing of rangelands has the same.effects
as deforestation in terms of leaving land vulnerable to erosion and
causing deterioration in soils physical properties, levels of organic
matter and nutrients.

4. Insects, diseases, Weeds and Other Pests of CrQps

If food needs of rapidly increasing populations are to be met, both
yields/acre and cropping intensity must be substantially increased. Such
intensified production favors the buildup of insects, diseases, and other
pests which, unless contained or controlled, can seriously limit
production. Pest losses can be reduced through genetic resistance,
biological control and systems of integrated pest management that
includes the use of pesticides.

5. Toxic Chemicals

Human activities are responsible for releasing into the earth's
environment large quantities of chemicals which may damage plants and
animals and eliminate sustainable agricultural production systems.

The combustion of fossil fuels releases large quantities of sulphur and
nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. These gases combine with moisture
--t6 form acid-enriched rain. This acid rain damages both plants and
animals, including aquatic life.

High temperature processes have resulted in a number of metals being
volatilized and released into the atmosphere as pollutants. Sufficiently
high concentration in soils or water systems is toxic to plant and animal
life.

Fertilizers and pesticides have the potential to be harmful if used
improperly. Means for safer use or alternatives to pesticides are needed.

6. Desertification

The United Nations Conference on Desertification in 1977- concluded that
desertification is threatening the productivity of as much as one-third
of the world's land containing 15% of the global population.
Desertification is a product of both climate and human activity. Rapidly
growing areas throughout the world subjected to desertification pose
serious problems of sustaining agricultural production in the years ahead.

7. Climate and Climatic Changes

There is considerable scientific evidence pointing to a significant
warming trend in world climate. Such a trend is a result of a buildup of
carbon dioxide and other gases such as methane, chloroflurocarbons and
other trace gases into the atmosphere. Such a warming trend could have
significant, longer-term impacts upon agricultural production systems and
their sustainability.








6 -

8. Failure to Maintain Gains.in Productivity

Much of the improvement io food production in recent decades has resulted
from the development of plant cultivars with improved characteristics
such as resistance or tolerance to a wide range of diseases, insects, and
other adverse environmental factors. However, there is often a rapid
rate of obsolescence of the technology which make these improvements
possible. Such circumstances have given rise to the need for
"maintenance" research to protect the productivity gains already realized.

Significant reductions in food production could occur as a result of the
failure to take the needed steps to protect or maintain the advances in
production already achieved.

9. Problems Related to Animal Production

In efforts to achieve sustainable agricultural production systems
attention must be focused on animal as well as crop production. Many of
the problems related to crop production have implications to animal
production, especially those which impact forage/fodder production
including the degradation of range lands.

In addition to issues related to feed production, there are also major -
problems of diseases, insects and parasites which affect animal
production and have sustainability implications. For example, it is
estimated that, globally, diseases and parasites are responsible for the
death of 50 million cattle and buffalo and 100 million sheep and goats
each year.

10. Unfavorable Political, Economic and Policy Environment

There are major problems limiting the achievement of sustainability
objectives which relate to the political, economic and social
environment. Many of the problems of the physical and biological
environment relate to the "supply" side of sustainability issues. Some
of the economic and policy issues greatly affect the "demand" side as
well.

Often sustained agricultural development is hampered by the low priority
afforded agriculture by national and local governments. Such low
priority is reflected in many ways, including a low level of investment
in the development of the agricultural sector as well as trade, taxation
and pricing policies which often tend to favor the urban consumer at the
expense of the farmer. The result is that in many countries, agriculture
is not provided the financial and institutional support that its central
role in the economy warrants.

The low priority which many developing countries give agriculture is
often reflected in policies which could represent deterrents to the
achievement of sustainability objectives. It is widely agreed that
overvalued exchange rates, artificially low internal prices (for
agricultural commodities) that favor urban consumers, and deterioration
in the external as well as internal terms of trade for agricultural
products, creates serious disincentives to agricultural producers and
serve as deterrents to the achievement of sustainability objectives.






-7-

11. Other Factors

It is generally accepted that infrastructure is and agent of sustainable
development in most circumstances, especially with respect to raising
Shields and cropping intensities.

The elimination of some of the major problems limiting the achievement of
sustainability objectives will require the use'of purchased inputs such
as seed, fertilizers, pesticides, implements and equipment. The lack of
Availability of such inputs at reasonable prices as well as the lack of
credit to purchase them can be serious deterrents to the achievement of
sustainable production systems.

The development of strong, viable and effective agricultural research,
extension and education programs are vital to the achievement of
sustainability objectives. There is widespread evidence that such
programs are substantially underfunded in most developing countries
despite evidence of high financial returns to investments in these
functions.

There is significant evidence that land tenure systems may adversely
impact agricultural development and sustainability objectives. Certain
systems of land tenure, for example, may have effects upon the
degradation of natural resources and the sustainability of production
systems.

The Relationship Between the new Focus and Sustainability

The new focus emphasizes maintaining or enhancing the natural resource base.
The resource base is one of the critical elements that must be maintained if
sustainability of agricultural development is to be achieved. One of the
purposes of emphasis on sustainability is to ensure food security which
directly relates to food availability and consumption. Where the new focus
and an emphasis on sustainability have major cause and effect relationships is
on the question of raising the income of the poor majority. The major adverse
impact on the resource base that jeopardizes sustainability is that caused by
over use and exploitation by that part of the poor majority that are trying to
increase their income through over fishing, encroaching on the forests,
overusing the ranges and fuelwoods and utilizing fragile uplands and semi-arid
lands for marginal farming. These activities reflect greater population
pressure for the income these resource bases can provide in relation to what
is sustainable. The answers to the resultant dilemma that results may lie in
finding means of changing the way in which the more fragile resource bases are
utilized without reducing the income potential they provide, and by developing
more attractive alternative sources of income that will diminish pressure on
the resource base.

SInitial Suggested Outline for Future A.I.D. Program Emphasis on Sustainability

i 1. Sustainable Production of Basic Food Crops

a. Under irrigation

The emphasis will be on soil and water management to maximize efficiency
of water use and to encourage proper drainage to prevent waterlogging and
salinization. Soil management will be directed at minimizing erosion,
maintaining adequate levels of organic matter and fertility. Crop






-7-

11. Other Factors

It is generally accepted that infrastructure is and agent of sustainable
development in most circumstances, especially with respect to raising
Shields and cropping intensities.

The elimination of some of the major problems limiting the achievement of
sustainability objectives will require the use'of purchased inputs such
as seed, fertilizers, pesticides, implements and equipment. The lack of
Availability of such inputs at reasonable prices as well as the lack of
credit to purchase them can be serious deterrents to the achievement of
sustainable production systems.

The development of strong, viable and effective agricultural research,
extension and education programs are vital to the achievement of
sustainability objectives. There is widespread evidence that such
programs are substantially underfunded in most developing countries
despite evidence of high financial returns to investments in these
functions.

There is significant evidence that land tenure systems may adversely
impact agricultural development and sustainability objectives. Certain
systems of land tenure, for example, may have effects upon the
degradation of natural resources and the sustainability of production
systems.

The Relationship Between the new Focus and Sustainability

The new focus emphasizes maintaining or enhancing the natural resource base.
The resource base is one of the critical elements that must be maintained if
sustainability of agricultural development is to be achieved. One of the
purposes of emphasis on sustainability is to ensure food security which
directly relates to food availability and consumption. Where the new focus
and an emphasis on sustainability have major cause and effect relationships is
on the question of raising the income of the poor majority. The major adverse
impact on the resource base that jeopardizes sustainability is that caused by
over use and exploitation by that part of the poor majority that are trying to
increase their income through over fishing, encroaching on the forests,
overusing the ranges and fuelwoods and utilizing fragile uplands and semi-arid
lands for marginal farming. These activities reflect greater population
pressure for the income these resource bases can provide in relation to what
is sustainable. The answers to the resultant dilemma that results may lie in
finding means of changing the way in which the more fragile resource bases are
utilized without reducing the income potential they provide, and by developing
more attractive alternative sources of income that will diminish pressure on
the resource base.

SInitial Suggested Outline for Future A.I.D. Program Emphasis on Sustainability

i 1. Sustainable Production of Basic Food Crops

a. Under irrigation

The emphasis will be on soil and water management to maximize efficiency
of water use and to encourage proper drainage to prevent waterlogging and
salinization. Soil management will be directed at minimizing erosion,
maintaining adequate levels of organic matter and fertility. Crop







-8-

productivity maintenance will place priority on sustaining productivity
through use of high yielding varieties with maximum genetic resistance to
pests and diseases and use of effective means to minimize weed
competition. -

Policy reform will be directed at efficient management of irrigation
systems with user participation to the extent feasible. Water pricing
policy will be directed toward reducing water subsidies to the extent
feasible so that realistic pricing will encourage efficient water use.

b. Non irrigated production

The emphasis on basic soil and crop management will be the same as for
irrigated conditions, but greater emphasis will be placed on maintaining
productivity and minimizing soil loss through crop rotation, conservation
oriented tillage methods, use of crop residues as a tool in soil
management and use of alley cropping and other polyculture methods where
appropriate, and terraces or other structures to manage water run off and
minimize erosion based on slope and agroclimatic factors. Encourage use
of windbreaks and tillage methods or cropping patterns to minimize wind
erosion where this is a problem. Policy dialogue will focus on issues of
pricing, access to capital and inputs and for public sector cost sharing
of structures that provide benefits beyond the farm boundaries.

The A.I.D. Role

At the mission level, A.I.D. will collaborate with other donors.on policy
dialogue issues and in support of technology development and
dissemination. This will be accomplished as appropriate through
institution building with emphasis on development of human resources. At
the global and regional levels the leadership, for developing the
technologies required will come from IARCs and industrial country
research centers. A.I.D. will continue to finance IARCs and encourage
networks to involve NARCs in the adaptation of new technologies to suit
local conditions. Greater future emphasis will need to be placed. on
insuring linkages between centers of U.S. technology development with
these networks. This is of particular importance with the growth in both
public and private sector use of biotechnologies to speed introduction of
genetic sources to overcome environmental constraints including damage
from pests and diseases, or limiting soil and climatic factors.

2. Crop Diversification

Rising income and reduced cost of basic food commodities with local self
sufficiency of production is resulting in demand for greater dietary
diversity. Consumption of fruits,. vegetables, red meat, poultry, fish
and edible oils is increasing. The increased demand for livestock
products is increasing the need for forages and feeds for livestock and
poultry. Increases in aquaculture causes special consideration in water
usage and feed ingredients. There is major potential of future energy
sources derived from plants from combustion, fermentation and extraction
of hydrocarbons. There will also be increased use of plant derived
feedstock for chemical and industrial uses. The end result will be
greater emphasis on a range of cash crops as part of agricultural
diversification.







-- 9. -


The A.I.D. Role

The cash, food and feed crops that.will be important in the
diversification-process are not the subject of major research investment
by IARCs or: NARCs. Therefore new initiatives at both the international
and country level will be required to build the technology development
and transfer systems that will be required. This issue would justify
A.I.D. taking a lead role in the donor community in thoroughly examining-
trends leading to diversification and their implication on the
development process.

3. Sustainable Land Use for Fragile Environments Including the Role of
Livestock and Mixed Farming Systems.

Livestock are an important ingredient in the agricultural systems common.
to many of the fragile environments and are often a contributing factor
to desertification, wind and other soil erosion and in systems used to
replace for tropical forests. Degredation of fragile environments such
as uplands, semi-arid lands and tropical forests and mixed savannas have
impacts far beyond the point of degredation by direct flood or dune
damage to structures and agricultural lands that results from
deterioration of the water shed caused by removal of the natural plant
cover. The deteriorated watershed has effects on ground water recharge,
water quality and also accelerates siltation of dams and reservoirs.
Therefore these fragile areas have a far greater impact than their direct
contribution to agricultural production. Thus their degradation is an
overall public concern, not just that of the users. As a result, public
land use policy will become an issue of increasing concern in most
countries as population pressure on these fragile lands leads to
accelerated degredation and the consequences of this degredation are more
widely felt.

The A.I.D. Role

Over the past two decades, A.I.D. has undertaken a number of projects
directed at these problems, often with limited impact. These are very
'complex and difficult areas to address. Priority should be given for
A.I.D. to work with other donors to evaluate past experiences and
delineate from these the potential for new initiative and directions.

How Does a Sustainability Emphasis Differ From What A.I.D. is Now Doing?

The answer to this question is very similar to those asked about the new
agricultural Focus. It is the general impression that much of what we are now
doing contributes to the new agricultural focus, but the specifics are not.
readily available to back up this feeling expressed by the professional
staff. Therefore, there is need to develop criteria against which existing
activities can be evaluated to determine if and how each activity relates to
the various elements of the focus and to the sustainability issue. To do this
will require the assignment of adequate personnel and resources capable of
developing adequate criteria and evaluating each activity, bureau by bureau
and mission by mission against these criteria. There is also the need for
this process to identify gaps that A.I.D. could fill and where it is not
making a significant contribution to determine if future priorities or shifts
in emphasis should be considered. For example, both the new focus and the







S- 10 -


sustainability issue place less emphasis on maximizing production as a primary
objective. There may be an implied Increase of emphasis on stability of
Production and efficiency rather than total quantity, even though both are
needed.

What are the Next Steps

A.I.D. is only one actor in the development process and in most countries a
minority factor. The agency is heavily dependent on outside sources of
technical capability. Therefore it is probably neither feasible nor desirable
for the elaboration of criteria, indicators and measuring devices to be
developed utilizing only internal resources. It is important for the agency
to manage the process and involve its staff. Therefore, a process needs to be
initiated that will involve outside expertise, representatives of major
constituencies such as the environmental PVO's, other PVOs, Title XII
interests, interested parties in the private sector and other donors in the
process of developing the specific criteria by which present activities are
assessed and evaluated and as a basis for establishing future priorities.

As a first step in addressing the sustainability issue, the agencies
generalized views on the issues proposed by the "Blake Paper" for A.I.D.
action should be transformed into and A.I.D. agenda that is compatible with
A.I.D. capabilities and acceptable to the broader A.I.D. constituencies. For
example, the "Blake Paper" puts an unrealistic emphasis on implementing A.I.D.
programs at the farm level through use of PVO's, Peace Corps and similar
mechanisms. It also assumes there are U.S. developed technology packages that
are transferable and that monoculture is bad and polyculture is good, where in
fact both have their appropriate place. On the other hand this paper is in
-close agreement with A.I.D. that developing human capital should have high
priority, encourages full funding of the CGIAR, and supports development of
NARCs and for technology transfer to use more cost effective communications
media and other alternative extension routes including private sector and
local village organizations instead of support of massive government extension
services. There is already an agency wide task force directed at developing a
policy for A.I.D. support of innovative extension approaches. The emphasis on
technology development has already become part of A.I.D. policy. Their
proposal that A.I.D. leave large scale expenditures on physical infrastructure
development to the World Bank and other donors is not in conflict with general
A.I.D. policy. They also emphasize the need for policy dialogue to overcome
constraints imposed on the development process, which is consistent with
A.I.D. efforts.

The areas of primary concurrence between the Blake paper and A.I.D. activities
can be summarized as follows:

1. Development of human resources
2. Policy dialogue
3. Support of IARCs, NARCs and technology development
4. Emphasize innovative extension approaches
5. Work from bottom up so research and extension is in line with farmer
need and capability (farming systems)
6. De-emphasize large scale physical infrastructure
7. Promote maintaining genetic diversity
8. Integrate efforts in agriculture, health, population and education
9. Do not attempt projects that are too complex
10. Promote institutional development.








'*- 11 -

Areas where there appear to be-differences in view:--

1. emphasiss on direct action at farm level using PVOs -
2. Promotion of polyculture to.the exclusion-of monoculture
3. A blanket emphasis on reduction in use of, externally supplied inputs
(many of the LDC farmers now don't use any and should have access to
some).

Areas where there may be some difference in view or feasibility:

1. Emphasis on poor farmers in fragile environments
2. Proposed greater emphasis on livestock/grazing issues
3. Level of concentration on village level organizations
4. Various details of technical approaches.

How to Implement the Next Step

1. Establish a series of A.I.D. working groups to develop a complete
scope of work for tackling various issues/components. These should
include both issue oriented tasks and technical issues i.e., water,
soil, range/livestock etc.
2. Decide how to carry out individual scopes of work i.e., in house task
force, external consultant/consultants.
3. Workshops that would allow interaction with various constituencies.
4. Agency coordinating group to oversee the various activities and bring
them together in the various types of agency guidance required.







SSummary of Environmental Groups-Paper
on Sustainable Agriculture


Sustainable Agriculture --Primary component of Sustainable Development.

Short'definition given on page 2. (attached).

- Seven Working pointss under-definition also on page 2. (attached)

Proposes that A.I.D. review every project in portfolio and continue only those
that contribute to sustainability.

A.I.D. concentrate on human resource development.
Transfer of techniques through PVOs.
Let World Bank and others do Infrastructuree projects.
A.I.D. is already leading the development agencies in the direction of
sustainable agriculture.
A.I.D. needs to collect its experiences, focus its program and become
more cross disciplinary in design and implementation.
A.I.D. should concentrate on poorer farmers on marginal land that because
of population pressures are progressively causing more environmental
damage.

They propose six guiding principles for A.I.D. sustainability projects.

Human resource development concentrating on educating poor farmers and -
improving their material means using bottom up approach.
Maintaining genetic diversity by promoting polyculture over monoculture.
Greater utilization of U.S. PVOs and development of indigenous PVOs.
Greater support of research especially that focused on fragile lands.
A.I.D. exert leadership for sustainable agriculture in the scientific
community, with Congress, the public, and other donors.
A.I.D. and Congress both make long term commitment to effort.

S Sustainability must be marketed on basis of its economic benefits
(profitability).

Need to develop more cost effective extension means because current LDC
extension systems are too costly and ineffective.

More institutionalization of collaborative approach needs to move from
official and technical level to farmer level with farmer input (farming
systems approach). Should spend more effort directed at local organization
development and joint participation.

Technology introduced must be appropriate to needs and capability of the
farmer recipients. They should be low cost, locally tested and built from
existing practices used locally.

Must insure equity of benefits and protect existing rights, i.e. communal
grazing, use of forests, water etc.

Need to integrate agricultural efforts with others, i.e. population, health,
education, etc.

Because integrated rural development projects failed due to complexity,
projects on sustainability should concentrate on a limited number of
components.







-2--

Specific Element Proposed

Soil -

Systems and project elements which conserve and improve.soil.

-Crop Systems- :

(a) Increase productivity and food security in difficult
environments.
(b) Augment soil fertility.
(c) Reduce need for external inputs.
(d) Improve quality of life and nutrition.

Water Management -

Low cost systems or techniques that conserve water and develop local
management of systems.

Energy -

Systems that meet farm needs as much as possible from local and
renewable sources.

Wetlands, Coastal Systems, Forests and Grasslands -

Systems and techniques that provide sustainability of use, protect
village rights to these resources.

Rural Support -

Concentrate on village organized and managed efforts.

Research -

Full funding of CGIAR, more social science research, strengthen
NARCs, influence U.S. institutions for more research on
sustainability, provide support to individual LDC scientists.

Extension -

Greater use of U.S. and local PVOs.
More use of local people local involvement.
Develop local institutions and organizations.
Greater use of Peace Corps, African Development Foundation.
WFP, IFAD, local universities and private sector entities.
More in country training
Improve A.I.D. methods of working with PVOs.

Other Recommendations

Integrate other A.I.D. programs with this effort.
Institutionalize the process.-
A.I.D. Personnel development implications.
A.I.D. Policy and Planning implications.
A.I.D. leadership of other donors.




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