|CERES No. 122 (FAO Ceres, 1988, 50 p.)|
THE FAO REVIEW: No development without communication
In Cape Verde, an interesting project has been set up on behalf of the Ministry of Rural Development, at Loura, a village of 110 families, 25 km from the capital. The aim of the project is to create an agro-industrial unit to produce and process physic nuts. The physic nut tree, also known as jatropha and the oil tree, is a shrub that had already been cultivated in Benin, Madagascar, and the Cape Verde islands during the Second World War for the manufacture of soap and the extraction of fuel oil from the seeds. But these activities were abandoned in the 1950s with the boom in the oil industry. On an area of about 100 hectares, 100 000 shrubs have been planted, and experts responsible for the initiative hope that by 1990 they will be producing around 175 tons of physic nuts. A semi-industrial process will be used to extract 50 000 litres of oil a year. Artisanal methods obtain only 35 500 litres and cost twice as much. Jatrophas are an important source of energy, and the major objective of the project is, of course, to produce fuel, sufficient to run the semi-industrial plant and to make possible the introduction of experimental stoves into homes and thus save fuelwood. Physic nut oil will also replace lamp oil in the home, and residues from the agro-industrial complex at Loura will be used to run generators. This raw material should also yield 4.5 tons of soap a year at an expected retail cost of FF 90/kg, substantially less than imported soap, which costs FF 115/kg.
The promoters of the project hope to create a new economic activity for Loura with positive social and political effects, but they also expect jatropha plantations to be an important ecological achievement. The project is part of a reforestation programme to prevent erosion. Planted in hedges, the shrubs can function as windbreaks to protect annual crops.
It is hoped that this initiative will be an example for other villages of Africa, Asia, and Central America where the shrub grows.
The jatropha, indigenous to the arid regions of Brazil, is an oleaginous shrub (Jatropha curcas) and a member of the family Euphorbiaceae. It was introduced to the Cape Verde islands in the sixteenth century by Portuguese navigators, but it has also been cultivated in India for several generations. It grows both spontaneously and under cultivation in village plots, both in dry tropical countries and in humid equatorial regions. Although it prefers cool soils, it also grows vigorously - with almost no care - on arid escarpments, and can adapt to long periods without rain.
The jatropha is a vigorous softwood plant, 2-6 metres tall. It flowers twice a year; its fruit, indehiscent on the tree (i.e., it does not open spontaneously when it ripens), is a small dark-brown spherical capsule that contains the seeds. Propagation takes place in the rainy season by cuttings or by seeds. The plant begins to bear fruit at three or four years and remains productive for 30 to 50 years.
The numerous properties of jatropha seem to warrant expanding cultivation. Indeed, the shrub is used in many tropical countries as a windbreak, as a barrier against erosion, to make enclosures, and as fuelwood. The fact that it adapts to ecologically deprived areas means that it can easily be integrated in reforestation programmes. According to Georges Martin, an authority on the species, it could be extremely useful in fighting desert encroachment in the Sahel. Jatropha also has therapeutic properties; it is used in Indian vedic traditional medicine and is renowned as a cathartic. All its various parts find medical uses in western and southern Africa, Burma, Brazil, Japan, Cape Verde, and Thailand.
A decoction of its roots can be used as a remedy for digestion problems. Its leaves are used for skin troubles (particularly scabies and dartres); and, in the past, Senegalese women used them to protect their hands when applying henna to their hair.
Because the sap is a coagulant, it is used to dress wounds. And finally, the curcas oil extracted from the seeds contains a toxic principle which, though it cannot be used for human consumption, is known for its purgative and diuretic effects. In addition to its medical properties, jatropha is apparently also a molluscicide, as proven by an experiment performed in Senegal by the Parasitological Department of the National Stockbreeding and Veterinary Research laboratory of Dakar. According to G. Vassiliades, author of the report on this study, the leaves, stems, seeds and kernels have the properties required to combat aquatic molluscs, such as Lymnaea natalensis or Bulinus guernei, carriers of human and animal disease.
But jatropha has an even more important characteristic. Its oil, which has always been used to make soap, varnish, and dyes, and as lamp oil, is a very efficient fuel.
In 1985, the National Botanical Research Institute of Lucknow in India published the conclusions of its research: curcas oil mainly consists of glycerides, and of stearic, palmitic, myristic, oleic and linoeic acids; its molecular structure is comparable to that of colza oil; it has absolute viscosity, determined at a temperature of 35°C and 100°C, and very weak acidity. With all these properties, it can be used as a lubricant and converted to replacement fuel in diesel engines. The numerous properties of this plant definitely imply that it could be used to give new impetus to economic activity in certain developing countries. But, as stressed by G. Martin and A. Mayeux, engineers at the Institute for Research on Oils and Oilseeds in Paris, in an article on energy oil crops, it is essential to continue to set up and implement research programmes in order to create a real jatropha development policy.
Anne Le Nir
Colombia is a country endowed with rich natural resources, but each year half a million hectares of its forests are destroyed, and its majestic Magdalena River is now so polluted and blocked by sediment that it has reached an all but irreversible state of degradation. Colombia, however, is the country where 40 Concejos verdes, town councils with the job of defending and managing the environment, were set up by Margarita Marino de Botero. Since July 1987, it has also been the site of a trail-blazing experiment, the continent's first school of ecology, set up by Margarita the Green in the seventeenth-century convent of San Francisco in the pretty colonial town of Villa de Leyva.
For its motto, the Green College in Villa de Leyva has taken Goethe's words: "All theory is grey but the tree of life is green and always in flower." Its aim is to bring people from different fields of study and from different social and political groups under its roof. Together they seek new methods of development and environmental defence in Colombia, Latin America, and the Third World. Studies of everyday life, of social and technical change, and of the problems these have caused will provide the basis for an advanced training course to take place each year in July and August. Run by a team of academics from Colombia and abroad, the course will teach community leaders, workers, farmers, and civil servants about social and environmental problems.
The aim of the college is "to create a permanent service offering information and seminars on handling natural resources, conservation, overall management, planning, carrying out and evaluating projects, regional development, use of appropriate technology, and communication techniques." It also considers itself to be a supportive structure for popular organizations and local associations in poor suburbs and small townships, and an instrument for encouraging communal action for environmental protection.
The college will remain outside the normal education programme, working as an open school, and a high level parallel establishment. It has the backing of the European Community, Colombia's Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Canada's Development Agency, the International Union for Nature Conservation, the Italian Government, Spain's Santillana Foundation, the Independent World Commission on Humanitarian Issues, and, in Colombia itself, the Caja de Credito Agrario (agrarian credit fund), the National Apprenticeship Service SENA, and the Central Mortgage Bank.
Courses offered at the Green College in Villa de Leyva include citizens' rights and the environment, the relationship between technological change, industry, and the environment, social movements and environmental responsibility, and the concept of habitable space. Working with the Centro de Investigaciones pro defensa de los Intereses Pos (PROBUBLICOS, the centres for research on defending public interests), the college has drawn up a plan for putting Colombia's environment legislation into practice, and founded an office offering legal aid to concejos verdes as they fight to protect community interests.
With Colombia's National Apprenticeship Service, the college is looking into a project offering training on local environmental problems and their solutions, and also the founding of an ecological centre to study appropriate technology and experiments in biological agriculture. With the Caja de Crto Agrario, the college is beginning to study an environment training project aimed at the nation's users of agricultural credits, and at public officials in the agricultural sector; the course will fill them in on environmental defence legislation and the extension of credit lines and technical assistance, taking ecological concerns into consideration.
Goethe, the teachers, and Margarita agree that the debates and lessons should not remain on a purely theoretical plane, and that they should not be limited to a high-level minority. They believe, on the contrary, that the college's activities should be closely connected with social practice, participation, and concrete problems, and therefore should play an active role in the cultural and democratic development of the community. Margarita Marino de Botero, creator of the Green campaign and the concejos verdes used by the Government to encourage democratic community organization, is now, with her college in Villa de Leyva, trying to provide a scientific aid which, through close contact between theory and social practice, will allow consciousness of the environment to be introduced into Colombia, by permanently studying economic, technical, and social problems which arise with development and the transformation of the rural environment, and the relationship between man and nature. Comparisons between Colombian ideas and experiments and those of the rest of Latin America and other areas will mean that the unique Villa de Leyva experience may encourage the formation of similar establishments in other countries, giving a boost to development which takes standards of living into account.
The list of guests and members of the International Committee of the newly formed college includes such contributors to Ceres as Ignacy Sachs, Johan Galtung, and Andras Biro, political and literary personalities such as Italy's Susanna Agnelli, West Germany's Rudolf Bahro, and Mexico's Ivan Illich, Pablo Gonzalez Casanova, and Rodolfo Stavenhagen, communications experts such as Armand Mattelard, famous architects such as Paolo Soleri, economists such as Spain's Ramon Tamames, Chile's Osvaldo Sunkel, and Brazil's Darcy Ribeiro, and ecologists such as Argentina's Jorge Hardoy. This impressive list, which includes figures from 43 countries, plus the many Colombian professors and collaborators involved, show the importance of this first, innovatory Latin American experiment in creating an awareness of the need for preservation of the natural and cultural environment.
Up to now, ecological awareness in Latin America has not been widespread, and in some countries it has been based purely on European political experience, rather than on thorough knowledge of conditions brought to the continent by development. Balance of payments, and to a lesser extent job creation, benefit from both the policy of substituting imports and from out and out development by means of foreign investment, of the type which prompted the military regime in Brazil in the 1970s to take out full-page advertisements in North American and European papers saying "Take your contamination away from us." Similarly, both policies pay no heed to the natural and human costs of growth of any type. The stir caused by Green Margarita's Green College in Villa de Leyva is encouraging therefore. Its policies are deep, cultural, and carefully thought out, and make a re-evaluation of programmes and laws on land use necessary. The venture is of particular significance because it reaches out to all those people, regardless of nationality, who see that not pitting nature against society is essential, because without nature society will become an impossibility.
In every region of the world, people have devised a host of ways to draw groundwater from its source, among them such traditional devices as buckets attached to ropes or levers, the Archimedean screw, and the shaduf. But whatever the means, until the early nineteenth century, they all had to rely on only four available sources of power - human or animal muscle, the force of running water itself, and the wind.
Attempts to harness the wind have a history that goes back at least 5 000 years to when the Egyptians first used sails to propel boats on the Nile. Fixed windmills are known to have existed in parts of the Middle East by 200 B.C.; by A.D. 1000, they were common around the Mediterranean, and by the twelfth century had reached northern Europe, where they became an important source of energy, primarily for milling grain or, as in the Netherlands, for draining flooded lowlands.
In fact, by the eighteenth century, windmills represented one of the most advanced forms of technology. However, with the invention of the steam engine early in the nineteenth century and later of the internal combustion engine, the value of wind-driven machines for pumping water or other purposes diminished, and windmills seemed relegated to being archaic monuments of a picturesque past. It is therefore something of an irony that the potential of windpumps, after several centuries of neglect, has recently been "rediscovered" and that efforts are being made to develop and promote their use, particularly for remote areas in the developing world. According to the authors of the Windpumping Handbook, there are now between three-quarters of a million and one and a half million windpumps operating around the world, and they are being manufactured and sold in at least 28 countries, 14 of them developing nations.
The UNDP Centre on Small Energy Sources, in its February 1987 Newsletter, cites the renewal of interest in windpumps in a number of Third World countries. In Sri Lanka and Morocco, for example, programmes have been launched to replace tens of thousands of diesel/kerosene pumps with windpumps.
Why this recent interest in an ancient technology? One obvious answer is the realization that the world's supply of fossil fuels is limited, non-renewable, and fast being depleted - the energy crisis that is fueling the incentive to develop all possible sources of alternative energy: nuclear, solar, geothermal, biogas, and wind. But there are other reasons as well. Fossil fuels, which now run most water pumps, must be imported by the majority of developing countries - a significant, often crippling drain on their meagre foreign exchange resources. Internal combustion engines, whether they use petrol, diesel, or kerosene, require frequent and relatively skilled maintenance for which many rural users may be inadequately prepared. Even with proper care, these high-speed engines have a fairly short operating life; repairs require trained technicians and parts are often expensive, in short supply, or simply unavailable. And unless a country is geared to their manufacture, both engines and parts must be purchased abroad with precious foreign exchange.
The windpump, such as the one designed by the Intermediate Technology Development Group, a British charity dedicated to increasing the income-generating capabilities of poor people in rural areas of the developing world, avoids all these problems. It runs on a free energy source. It requires little maintenance and has a life of 20 years or more. It is simple enough in design and materials to be manufactured by small scale industry and thus can be made locally, saving on cost and foreign exchange, as well as providing local employment.
Unfortunately, for all the wind pump's advantages, it has at least one major limitation. It will work only where there is adequate wind - meaning wind with the proper speed, frequency, and timing. Modern wind pumps need a minimum wind speed of about 2.5 metres per second (6 mph or 5 knots) and are designed to furl in winds above 10-12 m/s. The wind must also blow frequently enough to permit the pump to draw sufficient water to meet the needs of humans, animals, or crops, and it must blow during the seasons when rainwater is scarce or absent. Fortunately, these conditions are met in perhaps half the world's land mass.
However, the presence of adequate wind is not in itself a guarantee that windpumps will be feasible. The pumps can be installed only where there is minimal turbulence caused by hills, valleys, trees, and buildings, and, of course, where the water table is near enough to the surface - 200 metres or less. Air density also affects the windpump's efficiency. It is estimated that a well-designed windmill can harness 25-40 per cent of the wind's kinetic energy, but this energy is reduced by factors which lower air density, especially altitude. For example, at 1000 metres, wind at a given speed loses some 11 per cent of its sea-level kinetic energy, although this loss is frequently compensated for by higher wind speeds.
The modern windpump consists of five basic components: wind sails, a tail, a transmission mechanism, a tower, and the pump, together with some type of storage system. A variety of designs have been developed for each of these elements. The most common sail is the multibladed, horizontal axis type. The tail, which projects from the rear of the rotating blades, serves to keep the sail facing into the wind and, in high winds (usually above 10-12 m/s), furls the sails by turning them parallel to the windstream, thus reducing the danger of damage. The transmission converts the rotary motion of the sail's axis into a form suitable for driving the pump. The tower, normally between 10 and 20 metres high, serves two purposes: it raises the sail above ground turbulence and up where wind speeds are higher because not slowed by ground friction. The type of pump will depend on the "pump head", the distance the water must be lifted. For surface or shallow water, a suction pump is normally used, while for deep wells, some form of centrifugal or positive displacement pump is more appropriate. Because the centrifugal type requires high rotation speeds and will work only within a narrow rotation speed range, the positive displacement pump is usually preferred.
While much has changed over the centuries, many things have remained the same. One of these is man's need for fresh water, a need as imperative today as it was thousands of years ago. Another is man's continual search for ways to ease the burden of physical labour by harnessing the forces of nature. Millions of fertile acres in the developing world still yield marginal crops because they are not adequately irrigated; millions of people, most of them women, spend grueling hours a day just hauling water for domestic use. The ancient technology of windmills, updated, is beginnning once again to play a significant role in providing rural folk with the necessary power to obtain this life-giving liquid.
With a GDP of $420 per caput, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania is classified as a middle-income country. Until 1983, most of its foreign currency resources came from its exports of iron, copper, and gypsum. Since the late 1970s, however, the mining industry has been declining in favour of the fisheries, which now provide the country's most abundant resources. This is only a relative abundance, but the Mauritanian Government plans to further the development of the fishing sector.
On its 500 km of Atlantic coastline from Nouadhibou in the north to the banks of the Senegal river in the south, Mauritania has some of the world's richest fishing grounds. FAO estimates the annual potential catch to be 600 000 metric tons, with no risk of depleting the waters: tunas, molluscs, crustaceans, and octopus proliferate in this cold area of the Atlantic Ocean. In 1984, the catch was around $148 million dollars, roughly half the value of all other exports. In 1985, Mauritania exported a record 373 000 tons of fish, bringing in $224 million - a gigantic leap ahead over the $14 million of 1979. The fishing industry's share of the GDP was 11.1 per cent in 1985, an increase from only 6.5 per cent in 1982. These are the results of a successful new fishing policy launched in 1979, with an annual increase rate of I l per cent.
With such encouraging figures, it would be logical to conclude that Mauritania is exploiting its coastal waters and its EEZ with no problems, and that its population, anxious to consume the ocean's plentiful resources, is provided with the noble proteins by sailor-fishermen bound to the sea by an ancient tradition. But this is not so. Mauritanians regard the ocean with mistrust and fishermen with contempt: they shy away from balistes and octopus and are reluctant to set foot on a boat. According to a 1980 survey, the inhabitants of Nouakchott consume 16 kg of fish per caput a year (less than half the 35.4 kg/person/year for the total population of sub-Saharan Africa), against 0.3 kg per caput countrywide. These results indicate that fish consumption is increasing partly because prolonged drought has affected the economy of the nomads, forcing them to settle, and introducing them to new foods through food aid (rations distributed to nomads who flocked to the outskirts of the towns contained dried fish). But today, it is still only the poorest inhabitants of Nouakchott who give a slight preference to fish in their diet. In fact 51.8 per cent of the families with an income of less than FF 1 000 eat more fish than meat. However, since the price of fish is approaching that of mutton, the economic advantage tends to disappear. The Government hopes that its extension campaigns and the expansion of the marketing network toward the hinterland will encourage consumers to eat much more fish.
About 20 years ago, faced with the aversion of the majority of the population to anything concerning the sea, the lack of a maritime tradition, and the failure to form a national fishing fleet in the 1960s, the Government turned to foreign countries and, up to 1979, small foreign (mainly Soviet and Japanese) fleets fished on an industrial scale under licence. Almost the entire catch was, and still is, exported, and the host country thus loses control over a key sector of its economy. For instance, the Mauritanian Government made enormous investments in refrigeration and storage units on the mainland (90 000 and 240 000 metric tons capacity respectively), but overall, they operated to only 15 per cent of their capacity, since nearly all the foreign fishing boats were equipped to refrigerate or freeze the fish on board. The rapid increase of foreign participation in industrial fishing has therefore not led to a comparable increase in the volume of fish processed at Nouadhibou, the heart of the fishing industry.
Under its new fishing policy, in 1979 the Government implemented several measures to "Mauritanianize" the sector in order better to control the exploitation rate of fishery resources and to make them more financially profitable. It decided against granting fishing rights to foreign companies or countries. Since 1980, any foreign firm or national fishing in the Mauritanian EEZ is required to form a semi-public company in which the Mauritanian public or private sector is the major shareholder.
Agreements have been negotiated with more than ten countries, but the largest semi-public companies have been formed with Algeria, Libya, Romania, USSR, and the Republic of Korea.
Any company thus formed must also undertake to construct landbased facilities and train local workers. The law of November 1982 stipulates that all catches from Mauritanian waters must be unloaded for processing and export. Since May 1984, sales and exports theoretically take place through the SMCP (Mauritanian fish marketing company). Today, Mauritania has a fleet of 250 boats, including 66 freezer trawlers and 35 wet fish trawlers.
Crews are a problem. In compliance with the law, half the crew must be Mauritanian, but owner-fishermen respect the law in their own way. They pay a phantom crew that remains on land, and they take Koreans on board. As a result, industrial fisheries that account for 98 per cent of the catch employ only 350 Mauritanians.
Despite the progress made in recent years in fishing catches and financial efficiency, most of the foreign currency revenues go back abroad (about 80 per cent in 1983) where they are used to purchase equipment and for maintenance and labour. All things considered, the contribution of the fishing sector to the budget and to Mauritania's trade balance is still lower than it could be.
The economic and financial adjustment programme for 1985-88 clearly puts the emphasis on small-scale fishing, and it is probable that this policy will continue. The situation is not quite what it seems to be, because Mauritania does have a true smallscale fishery tradition thanks to the Imraguens - thought to be an autochthonous race - who have always fished for mullet eggs (which they press, dry, salt, and sell in a wax coating) and numerous coastal species. They live in villages scattered along the coast from Nouadhibou to Nouakchott. The produce is marketed at Nouadhibou by Thimris, the country's only fishing cooperative (three-quarters of its members are Imraguen), and in Nouakchott by SPPAM (Company for the promotion of small-scale fishing in Mauritania). Some 2 000 fishermen fish from pirogues and lanchas whose engines have been boosted thanks to Japanese and Italian contributions as well as to several UNDP projects. In 1985, the small-scale fishing fleet numbered 325 boats.
Imraguens are not alone in practising small-scale fishing: an equivalent number of Senegalese fish in the same manner in the southern part of the country. Potential small-scale catches in Mauritania are estimated at 90 000 metric tons a year, against the present 15 000 tons. Half this production is consumed locally, and the remainder is exported. It is believed that with adequate equipment, the present catch could be tripled. One of the UNDP projects executed by FAO is of special interest. Its aim is to build and repair fishing boats or canoes and launches and introduce mass production of polyester pirogues and launches. The shipyard has been set up on Nouakchott beach. The project started in 1985 for 22 months and has been extended to the end of 1988.
In 1986, the UNDP/FAO project had already achieved a number of objectives, for instance: the creation of a mobile repair shop; construction and maintenance of some 30 heat-insulated crates to preserve fish on board and for Imraguen communities located far from Nouakchott; training fishermen and ship carpenters. Finally, two improved prototype boats were built: one is a 10-metre semi-decked lancha, a variation of the traditional Canary lancha used by Imraguen fishermen. The ACRN (Naval Construction and Repair Yard) used these timber models to make moulds for mass-produced polyester hulls. However, considerable delay in the allocation of funds caused mass production to be postponed. These difficulties were overcome with an extraordinary UNDP-OSRO contribution (made by Indonesian rice growers to FAO in 1986) and with the unfreezing of financing by the Saudi Development Fund, whose delay threatened to compromise this fundamental phase of the ACRN operation. In late 1987, ten boats were built (including three complete boats fitted with Italian engines). The final ACRN output (38 motor boats with a polyester hull) should be ready by the end of 1988.
The retail price of a lancha made by ACRN in $30 000, that of a pirogue $25 000. It is therefore obvious that only rich businessmen, traders and the like, can afford them. But such wealth is not rare in Mauritania, and the boats built under this project are selling like hotcakes. Private shipowners take on Imraguen crews and have an equal share in the sale of the catch.
This motorized fishing industry is considered a small-scale enterprise because it takes place on a day-today basis, close to the coast, using small boats. However, the production is intended for export, which is more profitable than the local market. Today, for instance, there is a boom in octopus sales: 3 500 metric tons purchased by Japanese clients after the product has been frozen at Nouadhibou.
It is encouraging to see that small scale fishing does not rely on international projects and that local initiative is important. A UNDP/FAO mission observed that the fishermen have mastered the use of octopus pots to compete with industrial fishing. They have the same success with lobster fishing. Local initiative is not restricted to fishing alone; it also extends to training and recruiting new fishermen. For instance, the UNDP/FAO mission reports that Imraguen fishermen and Ndiagos recruit and provide on-the-job training for many youngsters from Nouakchott and from the vicinity of the Senegal River.
It is not clear what will happen to the ARCN operation when the project closes at the end of 1988. For the time being revenues from boat sales go into a revolving fund managed by UNDP, used to purchase equipment and to pay the 30 workers employed in the shipyard. After UNDP pulls out, the yard will be privatized: several potential buyers have already expressed their interest in the deal, a sure sign that they consider it a profitable business.
"Africa's soils are no less problematic than her climate," writes Paul Harrison in The Greening of Africa. "Only 19 per cent of the soils of the continent have no inherent fertility limitations.... The heavy rainfall leaches out the soluble nutrients. High temperatures break down organic matter more rapidly and inhibit the work of bacteria that fix nitrogen from the air. As a result, Africa's soils are among the least fertile in the world. They are often low on nitrogen, which builds leaves, and on phosphorus, essential for root growth. The predominance of coarse particles and the lack of organic matter make for soils that are poor at holding water or nutrients."
So much for what erosion leaves behind. But what exactly does it wash, or blow, away? How much nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic matter is contained in the soil lost to erosion and what are they worth in dollars and cents?
In 1985 the Soil Conservation Programme of FAO's Land and Water Development Division commissioned a pilot study to put a price tag on soil loss from erosion. The study concentrated on Zimbabwe because that country possessed a large and unique body of data on soil erosion. The data had been collected in the late 1950s and early 1960s at the Henderson Research Station 20 kilometres outside Harare, then Salisbury, during a series of experiments on soil loss, runoff, and nutrient losses. Researchers Michael Stocking and Henry Elwell undertook the "long and painstaking task" of classifying, documenting, and analyzing these records. But 30 files from a separate subprogramme, damaged by rain and eaten by insects, escaped notice until 1984, when, finally, they "were seen to contain a storm-by-storm record of nitrogen, phosphorus and organic carbon concentrates in the sediment samples collected from the Henderson research plots".
The project of analyzing data from more than 2 000 storm soil loss events on four soil types and numerous crops, treatments, and slopes began at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering's Soil Conservation Research Section at Hatcliffe, outside Harare, and the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.
There are two trends discernible in soil erosion research today, says Stocking. The first is concern with the on-site effects of erosion rather than with the soil loss itself; the second is the growing need to measure the problem of its seriousness accurately and objectively. Techniques for quantification, he says, offer "an almost bewildering variety of types of measurement and techniques" of which expressing the cost of erosion in monetary terms is "the most useful and relevant" as the information can be used directly in decision-making about land use, forms of soil conservation, and investments in agricultural development.
Stocking concludes that "the appropriate quantification of the impact of erosion should be the highest priority on the agenda of erosion research in the next decade". Among the study's findings: - Enrichment ratios (how much more concentrated a nutrient is in eroded soil than it is in the soil that remains) average about 2.5. That is, soil lost to erosion is 2.5 times richer in nutrients than the soil from which it came. Thus even a very small loss of soil can have dramatic effects on yields.
- The more soil is lost, the more nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon are lost - from all types of soils, slopes, and crops. If erosion rates can be estimated, nutrient losses can be predicted. - Typical rates of erosion range from 3 to 75 metric tons per hectare, depending on type of land use and farming. - The yields of severely eroded soils are often reduced by half. - Investments in fertilizers and chemicals are literally washed away by erosion. - Every year Zimbabwe loses 1.6 million metric tons of nitrogen, 0.24 metric tons of phosphorus, and 15.6 metric tons of organic carbon, which is the equivalent of US$1.5 billion of N and P in fertilizer. - Commercial farmers lose much of the fertilizer they apply. The natural fertility of soil where little or no fertilizer is used is declining. - The soil profile will grow shallower and shallower to the point that within 35-50 years, if present rates of erosion continue, no viable production will be possible from soils now under subsistence farming. - Technology (chemicals, improved seeds, agricultural engineering) has concealed much erosion-induced decline in productivity.
"Soil erosion and soil productivity are inextricably linked.... There is abundant evidence of the erosion productivity relationship: in yields; in nutrient level in eroded soils; in the way the fertility-enhancing crops and good cover crops allow less erosion; in trends in world farming productivity," Stocking writes. "Because erosion selectively removes the finer and more fertile particles in a soil, overall soil fertility is reduced. Indeed, eroded soil contains up to twelve times the concentration of nutrients as the original soil." With a view to better assessment of the effects of erosion and the incorporation of that knowledge into conservation planning and agricultural development, he makes the following recommendations: - greater monitoring of nutrient and organic carbon losses - calculation and reporting of enrichment ratios in relation to soil type, erosion rate, runoff, crop, and management - monitoring of plant-available water and other effects of erosion - improvement of the data base for quantifying the impact of erosion - economic modeling of the costs of erosion.
Maureen B. Fant
FISH FOR MEXICO
One of the principal objectives of Mexico's 1983-88 development plan is to improve the diet of its inhabitants and to earn foreign currency by increasing exports. In a country bordered by two oceans, the fishing industry can achieve both objectives simultaneously. With UNDP financing and FAO's technical aid, two projects were set up for a period of two and a half years starting from November 1987. The Mexican Government has contributed $Mex 1.2 billion and the UNDP US$ 800000. Operating costs amount to US$ 526 482.
The aim of the first project is to develop aquaculture by 30 per cent a year for a production of close to 800 000 metric tons in 1992. Five pilot centres and ten technical assistance centres will help to promote the adoption of more advanced technologies, particularly for shrimp production. The sectors to benefit from the new technologies are: nutrition, breeding physiology, biotechnological model development, water quality, and intensive production systems in the strictest hygienic conditions.
The second project will develop coastal and offshore fishing in order to take the greatest possible advantage of fishing resources in the Mexican exclusive economic zone. The objective is to increase the catch by 28.5 per cent a year and the fish-processing industry by 19.5 per cent a year. In addition to using improved trawling in shallow waters, the fishing industry has also introduced three new products obtained from seaweed as well as six new products for human consumption derived from sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and tuna.
PROMOTING HANDICRAFTS IN ZIMBABWE
One way to improve the way of life of landless peasants is to teach them to make handicrafts from local natural resources such as wood, stone, and clay. This is precisely what the Government of Zimbabwe is seeking to achieve with the help of FAO and with Swedish financing. After having gathered the views of 450 producers and district officials, the following decisions were taken:
- To coordinate at national and district levels the production and marketing of handicrafts and to involve the Department of National Parks;
- To collect socio-economic and technical data to determine the feasibility of certain measures regarding the production and marketing of handicrafts;
- To organize preparatory and continuing training courses in basketry.
This preparatory work, with funding of $102260 by the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA), has led to a project that awaits financing.
PLANNING FUELWOOD SUPPLIES
Fuelwood is still one of the most important sources of energy for nearly half the world's population. But not everyone is aware that the use of fuelwood goes far beyond domestic energy needs and that a considerable amount is used in rural industrial activities.
The diversity of energy problems from one developing country to another makes it impossible to formulate a global solution applicable to all regions: each country has to be dealt with separately, and must be sufficiently well equipped to cope with the problem.
To achieve this aim, the Forestry Department of FAO, with the financial support of the Italian Government, organized an International Seminar on planning national programmes for wood-based energy from 26 October to 5 November 1 987, attended by 30 representatives from the energy sectors of Argentina, Benin, Brazil, China, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Peru, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Representatives from ILO, EEC, Indonesia, Belgium, and Canada also attended the seminar.
The conclusions of the seminar deplore the lack of adequate planning, training schemes, research, financial commitment, legislation, institutions, and exchanges of experience and information. The recommendations are, of course, aimed at eliminating these shortcomings in a particularly sensitive sector that affects the day-to-day life of half the world's population.
COASTAL FISHERIES: ASIAN COOPERATION
In the member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), small-scale fishermen barely manage to survive: the techniques they use are often outdated, as are their equipment and their notions of trade. Their financial capabilities are negligible. To improve these conditions, with UNDP funding and with the technical collaboration of FAO, ASEAN has set up a project to develop small-scale regional coastal fisheries. The project became operational on 5 October 1985 as a preparatory phase and entered into its main phase in June 1987.
The immediate objectives of the project are: to maximize intercountry cooperation among ASEAN countries by establishing an institutional linkage of fisheries departments; to identify different types of small-scale fisheries activities that are feasible in coastal areas; to formulate small-scale fisheries projects and identify possible sources of financial and technical support; and finally, to undertake training at all levels.
In order to achieve these objectives, to carry out the appropriate studies, make the required connections, and organize projects, the ASEAN Fisheries Development Centre is to be based in Bangkok, Thailand. Sub-centres will be established in the ASEAN participating countries. Some studies have already been successfully completed, projects proposed, study tours organized and reports published. The Centre's library holds more than 13000 publications, including periodicals.
FERTILIZERS IN SIX YEARS' TIME
FAO has made forecasts for the worldwide demand and supply of fertilizers up to 1991-92 based on statistics gathered from its member countries. The demand for each fertilizer element (nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium) in market-economy developed countries will not regain its 1985-86 level until about 1990-91. In other types of economy, the demand is expected to increase considerably during the period covered by the forecasts at a higher average rate of growth in developing countries with a market economy than in countries with a centrally planned economy.
Detailed forecasts are given for each element (N, P, and K). The nitrogen supply should be fairly evenly distributed over the period considered for developed countries with a market economy, the demand increasing by about one million tons in developing countries with a market economy, of which 60 per cent will be in the Far East, 30 per cent in Latin America, and 10 per cent in Africa and the Near East. The world's surplus production of nitrogen fertilizers will remain acceptable up to 1989-90, the USSR and eastern Europe having by far the greatest export potential.
The bulk of the phosphate supply continues to be concentrated in North America, Tunisia, and Morocco. The demand will continue to increase in developing countries with a market economy, but since consumption will drop in industrialized countries, there will still be conspicuous exportable surpluses in North America and Africa.
Potassium is no exception to the general decline in demand which is expected to drop by about 1.5 million tons of K2O, equivalent to 6 per cent of the consumption for 1985-86. In this situation it was necessary to reduce the production capacity slightly.
Overall, it appears that the role of developing countries with a market economy in both the production and consumption of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers increased noticeably between 1971-72 and 1985-86, and that this trend will continue in the future; but these countries will have to import almost all their potassium supplies until 1991 -92 and beyond.
by Donald J. Elias
When a layman thinks of the animal kingdom, he usually has in mind the three or four per cent of it represented by the vertebrates - horses, bears, or dogs as opposed to, say, beetles, worms, or jellyfish. But despite their minority status, vertebrates are a varied lot. They live on land or in water. They are warmblooded or cold-blooded. Some fly, others swim or walk and run.
And most vertebrates - whether fish, birds, amphibians, mammals, or reptiles - can become "pests" when they enter into conflict with the interests or well-being of humans. Examples abound: when birds become hazardous to aircraft operations; when dolphins destroy the nets of commercial fishermen; when an exotic tree snake threatens the survival of indigenous bird species; when geese damage or foul golf greens; when rodents destroy works of art; when vultures prefer a vegetarian diet to carrion; when pigeons deface and accelerate the deterioration of buildings; or when vertebrates compete directly with man for food.
Vertebrate pests are responsible for limiting agricultural production. Although some species of animals which occupy limited geographic ranges cause only local problems, others, like vampire bats or several species of birds, which have a wide geographic distribution or are migratory, cause problems over extensive areas.
Damage by vertebrates in agriculture - both direct and indirect - involves a variety of crops and animal species and can occur any time during crop development or postharvest storage. By direct losses is meant the actual destruction of food by consumption, contamination, or other means. Indirect losses are those that result from interference with the means of production, such as by damage to equipment or irrigation systems, the incapacitation of workers or animals by illness, and other similar problems. Forests, pastures, grain crops, stored products, orchards, equipment, and livestock are susceptible to damage by rodents. Birds, sometimes numbering in the millions, can wreak havoc on grainfields. Rabies, histoplasmosis, Newcastle disease, leptospirosis, plague, trichinosis, typhus, Chagas' disease, cryptococcocis, Eastern equine encephalitis, candidiasis, and chlamydiosis are only a few of the diseases, infectious to man or domestic animals, for which rodents, bats, or birds are major reservoirs. Yet vertebrate pests have received a relatively small portion of the resources and expertise invested in agricultural development. Agriculturalists and others involved in food production have devoted vast amounts of time, effort, and money to insect control, for example, while vertebrate pests are largely ignored. Whereas most agricultural universities offer major programmes in weed science, applied entomology, or nematology, and other areas dealing with other kinds of agricultural pests, the universities that offer academic curricula in vertebrate pest management probably number less than ten worldwide. Only a few countries are attempting research on the problems despite the gravity of vertebrate damage in some areas and the potential for damage in others.
Bats as agricultural pests. Vampire bat parasitism on cattle and other livestock has long been a source of economic loss and hardship for livestock producers in Latin America. (See box.) These small bats have only one source of food - the blood of warm-blooded vertebrates, including man. They obtain it by biting open the skin to cause bleeding. Domestic animals (mainly cattle) are the primary victims. The transmission of paralytic rabies or possibly other diseases, blood loss, myiasis, and secondary infections all contribute to a problem that affects the livestock industries of about 21 countries. Paralytic rabies is considered the most serious animal health problem in Latin America and the vampire bat is the principal vector of the disease.
Losses directly or indirectly attributable to vampire parasitism on cattle are estimated at US$350 million a year.
Actual losses are probably even greater since estimates for livestock other than cattle (horses, swine, goats, poultry) are unavailable.
The group of large bats commonly referred to as "flying foxes" (Pteropus sp.) are widely distributed in southern Asia, Australia and islands of the southern and western Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. They feed on fruits of various sorts, often congregating in an orchard where they can destroy a crop in a single night.
Rodents as agricultural pests. Rodents are the most important group of vertebrate pests. So common is damage by rodents that it is often accepted as part of the normal scheme of things in agriculture. It is considered unavoidable and only minor attempts are made to evaluate damage, identify species, or attempt control. Crop losses to rodents and associated commensal rodent problems in the United States probably exceed $1 billion a year.
Rice is probably the crop most severely affected by rodents, though damage to other crops may be of greater concern in some places. Rats have been held responsible for yield reductions of greater than 60 per cent in rice, and rat damage has been reported as a limiting factor on rice production in some areas of the Philippines, to the extent of preventing successful production of crops during some parts of the year. Maize, sorghum, millet, and wheat are other important cereal crops affected. Sugar cane is particularly susceptible to rodent damage, with the added danger that damage is often unnoticed or ignored. Direct damage by rats to sugar cane is often slight, but the rat's gnawing opens the rind and the ensuing fermentation dramatically reduces the sugar content with the result that often the entire stalk is lost.
Rodents cause severe losses in coconuts in almost all countries where they are grown. In the Comoro Islands, over 30 per cent of the total coconut crop is lost to rodent damage every year; losses as high as 77 per cent have been documented in coconut plantations of Colombia. Oil palm, cacao, and groundnuts are often seriously affected. Bananas seem to be especially susceptible to damage by geomyid rodents (pocket gophers), though other types of rodents may also be involved. Other fruits, garden crops, tuberous crops such as manioc, legumes, melons, squash, and even cotton may be attacked. Poultry, fish and young animals are not immune to predatory attacks by rodents.
Rodent damage to foodstuffs is not limited to standing crops. Considerable losses occur during postharvest storage and transport. Cereal crops, which constitute the largest proportion of stored commodities, are the most prone to attack.
Rodents are reported as impediments to successful reforestation in many countries. In Chile, for example, Octodon bridgesi was described as the major pest in reforested areas. Studies have yielded estimates of a 43 per cent incidence of damage and a tree mortality of one in eight in young plantations.
While these few examples illustrate the severe impact that rodent pests can have on agriculture, the truth is that quantification of the magnitude of this impact is meagre at best. The biology of only a few rodent species is well known; knowledge of most rodents is very limited. Some are known only from single museum specimens. Other species may be more common but basic information on their geographic and altitudinal distributions, preferred habitats, food habits, life cycles, and taxonomic relationships is lacking. This paucity of fundamental information impedes our efforts to define and resolve rodent pest problems. Some years ago, a report on the existing knowledge of rodent damage to crops and stored products in tropical and subtropical areas of the world concluded, "The one single fact which emerges most clearly from the survey is the widespread ignorance of the magnitude of the rodent problem, and means to control it."0 Birds as agricultural pests. Farmers are generally indifferent to birds, though some bird species are valued for hunting or the assistance they provide in the struggle against weeds and insects. But a few species conflict with the farmer's interests and thus are regarded as pests. The damage caused by birds is often more dramatic than that caused by rodents because of the vast numbers of individuals often involved and the relatively short time span in which damage occurs, and because birds are much more visible than rodents. Various species of parrots and parakeets (Psittacidae), blackbirds (Icteridae), weavers (Ploceidae), doves (Columbidae), waterfowl (Anatidae), and seed-eaters (Fringillidae) are among the kinds of birds most often implicated in agricultural damage.
Birds most frequently attack grain sorghum, maize, and rice, but other crops attacked include wheat, soybeans, cacao, and many fruits. Standing crops are most vulnerable but losses of stored grain occur too, especially in village and urban areas where birds may roost in and around storage sites. Although they usually feed on spilled grain, birds often roost over the grain and contaminate the stores.
Data on crop losses attributable to birds are difficult to assess because damage is usually concentrated in limited areas and, due to the mobility of birds, is often seasonal, sporadic, and difficult to predict. In Africa, the red-billed quelea (Quelea quelea) ranges over 20 per cent of the continent and adversely affects the economies and food production capacity of 20 to 25 countries. Estimates of annual losses of cereals to birds range from at least $1 million in Somalia to $6.3 million in the Sudan.1 Similar losses occur in Latin America.2
Challenges in vertebrate pest management. Vertebrate damage problems in agriculture are inherently complex and so is the development of solutions. Vertebrates, like other living things, offer their own unique challenges when they conflict with human interests and become "pests". These challenges result from the biological and behavioural attributes of the animals themselves as well as from the cultural, sociological, and political context in which they cause damage. Biologically, vertebrates are sufficiently long-lived to preclude genetic manipulations such as are sometimes possible for controlling insects, but not so long-lived as to preclude development of genetic resistance. Resistance to the anticoagulant rodenticide warfarin and related coumarin and indandione derivatives was first identified in the 1950s.3 Such resistance has subsequently been documented in many areas around the world.4 Vertebrate pests can be sedentary or mobile: rodents normally do not travel great distances while other vertebrate pests, particularly birds such as quelea and dickcissels, can and do migrate for hundreds or even thousands of miles.
Many invertebrate pests offer the biologist a reliably predictable fixedaction pattern or stereotyped response, but the vertebrates, especially rodents, exhibit learning and offer rapid and sometimes intraspecifically varied responses to biological or chemical insults. Conditioned food aversion is an example of such learning: when a rodent consumes a sublethal quantity of a toxicant and becomes ill, it associates the illness with the flavour of the bait and subsequently avoids it. Food aversion learning, a contributor to "bait shyness", is one area of investigation by vertebrate pest control scientists searching for ways both to overcome bait shyness and to find means of using the behaviour to induce aversion to the crops which the animals are damaging.
Another contribution to the challenge of managing vertebrate pests is offered by cultural and sociological factors. Insects, weeds, and pathogenic organisms are not generally afforded religious protection, but in some developing countries rodents are regarded as both intelligent and vengeful. In some developed countries, concerns for animal welfare, humane treatment, and animal rights have extended to rats and noxious birds and the means used to control them. Such views can be of critical importance in the choice and public acceptance of effective strategies for management.
Effects of agricultural development. It is a paradox that increasingly progressive farming practices and more technology-intensive agriculture seem to lead to concomitant increases in the complexity and intensity of vertebrate pest problems.
Efforts to increase agricultural production in developing countries involve environmental changes which appear to influence the types and extent of vertebrate damage problems. A principal means for countries to increase production is to bring new lands under cultivation by clearing forest, scrub, or marsh areas for agriculture. Outbreaks of rodent populations have often been associated with such disturbances of habitat and new farmers on marginal lands may suffer serious crop losses during the critical first years of cultivation. In addition, chronic losses may be accentuated when rodents move from adjacent uncultivated lands to exploit the available food sources in newly cultivated fields.
Bird pests follow similar patterns. For example, one scholar considers the principal factors contributing to population outbreaks of eared dove (Zenaida auricalata) and agricultural damage in Argentina to be (1) the creation of a "mosaic pattern landscape" made up of thorns and croplands, offering both roosting places and an abundant food supply, and (2) the intensive sowing of sorghum which allows the existence of an important source of food during a long period of the year.
Various approaches to increasing production on land already under cultivation also appear to cause agricultural vertebrate pest problems. Irrigation, which allows year-round planting in areas formerly dependent upon seasonal rainfall, brings changes in farming practices as well as changes in the behaviour of rodent and bird populations. Elimination of the natural scheduling of the planting season in agricultural areas no longer immediately dependent upon rainfall, coupled with the availability of high yielding crop varieties with short growing seasons, often results in a more diversified system with crops of different ages in close proximity. Development of canals and impoundments creates additional favourable habitats.
Vertebrate control methods. If we consider vertebrate pest control in a broad context, we find that the methods used or proposed are numerous (see Table). A basic difficulty in the development of vertebrate damage control technology in many countries has been the tendency to underestimate the importance of species and environmental differences and to attempt translation of methods from the laboratory or from other geographical locations directly to the field where different species, crops, and environmental factors are involved.
Rodents provide a good example of this kind of failure. Most of the research and evaluation efforts in development of control methods have been directed toward the problems of commensal rodents in temperate cities and towns where the principal pest species is Rattus norvegicus. The private sector effort to develop rodent control materials and chemicals has been almost entirely directed at that market. Extension of rodent control techniques from the temperate urban situations in which they were developed to rural areas of the tropics has been generally ineffective.
Vertebrate damage control methods used in an agricultural system must be effective within the bounds of funds available to farmers for crop production, and must have the potential of providing positive economic benefits in relation to cost. If farmers or plant protection agencies are expected to use particular control methods in operational situations, the methods must be evaluated in terms of efficacy in protecting crops and in terms of the total cost of crop protection. Additional considerations must include primary and secondary hazards to humans, domestic animals and non-target species, and environmental contamination.
Vertebrate pests and agriculture in developing nations. Contacts with agricultural personnel, reviews of available literature, and first-hand observations indicate that vertebrate depredations of agricultural crops occur throughout the developing world and are, in some situations, a limiting factor to agricultural production. Agricultural development processes, especially those which involve opening of new lands for agriculture, irrigation, and more intensive cultivation, appear to create more favourable conditions for vertebrate pests, resulting in increased depredations.
Most developing countries have inadequate vertebrate pest control programmes. Hence, except in a few isolated cases, little organized and reliable information on the degree of damage, the economic impact, or the species and crops involved is available. Control efforts are often limited to emergencies. Few attempts have been made to describe the problems, evaluate the suitability of chemical or other control agents, determine the relative effectiveness of different control methodologies, or define other factors relevant to the problem of vertebrate pests. Often, inadequate materials or methods coupled with unsound application yield disappointing results. And when toxic materials are used, unacceptable hazards to humans, domestic animals, and environmental considerations are common because few of those persons responsible for crop protection in these countries have any training or experience in vertebrate pest control. Ideally, vertebrate pest control, like other forms of crop protection, should be considered an integral part of the agricultural production process. Unfortunately this is not the case. In 1973 a report by the FAO Panel on Vertebrate Pest Management in Asia and the Far East outlined the critical needs in vertebrate pest control in agriculture and made a series of recommendations. (See box.) While the recommendations were intended for a specific area, they are applicable to the situation worldwide, and many countries could benefit from adopting these approaches. Unfortunately they have not, and the recommendations are as valid and necessary today as they were when originally promulgated over 14 years ago.
Consider the recent rodent population outbreaks in the Sahelian countries of Africa which have been documented by representatives of several international development agencies including Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), USAID, and FAO. These are serious enough to have prompted requests for emergency assistance from two of the countries and the declaration of a disaster in a third.
Consider the damage that wild boars are doing on new croplands in the transmigration project areas of Indonesia. Consider the continuing losses of grain crops to quelea in Africa. Consider the losses of stored grains to rodents in Bhutan, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere, or rodent damage to field crops in Syria and other countries of the Near East. Consider the damage to fruit crops by bats in Maldives and rodent damage to coconut plantations in Sao Tome.
Food production is controlled by a myriad of interlocking factors and forces. Vertebrate pests constitute a small but significant piece in this mammoth puzzle. Certainly, the prevention of losses to these pests would represent an important contribution to the alleviation of hunger problems in the developing nations of the world. However, rapid progress in improving vertebrate control programmes in the developing nations cannot be expected until the role of vertebrate pests in limiting agricultural production receives the attention it merits. Evidence from both developed and developing countries has repeatedly shown that expanded research and better application of existing technology are essential to alleviation of vertebrate pest problems. Long-term solutions to vertebrate pest problems in agriculture (and public health) will require increased emphasis on training in the public and private sectors and support for coordinated research efforts throughout the developing areas of the world.
by Gerard Moore and Gunnar Saetersdal
The extension of fisheries jurisdiction to 200 miles during the latter part of the 1970s raised considerable expectations. In the September-October 1987 issue of Ceres, we examined the extent to which expectations of improved resource management have been fulfilled. Redistribution of resource wealth in favour of coastal nations, and more particularly the prospect of a more equitable sharing of the oceans' wealth between developed and developing nations, represented the other main expectation from the new fisheries regime. According to one FAO estimate, about 25 per cent by value of the total world catch was taken by fleets of distant water states off foreign shores. Of this, fish worth some US$3.7 billion (by 1978 values) was caught in areas that were to become economic or fishing zones of developed countries and catches worth $1.9 billion from the future zones of developing countries. The value of the catches of the few developing countries with distant water fleets from foreign waters was of the order of $100 million.
From these figures it was obvious that the main redistribution of resource wealth was to be among developed countries rather than from developed to developing countries. However the gains to developing coastal states were in terms of accessible resources directly off their coasts. Expectations among developing countries regarding the direct gains to be obtained from fisheries after the extension of fisheries jurisdiction were thus often considerable, though in many cases somewhat unrealistic. This article will concentrate on the extent to which those expectations have been realized.
The FAO Fisheries Statistical Yearbooks give the nominal world landings by economic class of nation. The records show that, during the period 1975-77 to 1984-85, the total world catch increased from about 68 million metric tons to about 84 million tons. The share of the developing countries over the same period has increased from about 43 to close to 50 per cent. Part of this increased share is attributable to increased catches in inland waters, almost all from developing countries. But even with full allowance made for this, it is clear that there has been a proportional increase in marine fish production in developing countries. It seems reasonable to attribute this increase at least in part to the extension of fisheries jurisdiction.
A more sombre picture. A study of fishing by industrialized nations in the exclusive economic zones of developing countries currently being carried out by FAO, however, gives a somewhat more sombre picture, at least at first glance. The study's preliminary results show that the estimated total catch by non-coastal countries in areas bordered by developing coastal states during the period 1977 to 1983 has remained remarkably stable at a global figure of around 5 million tons per year. The figures suggest that, quantitatively, no great "take-over" of the resources off the coasts of developing countries hitherto fished by foreign fleets has yet occurred. Indeed the foreign fishing effort has remained more or less at the same level as under the open access regime. This stability is in marked contrast to the dramatic decline in the catches by foreign fleets in the northern fishing regions over the same period. These dropped from about 2.2 million tons to 0.2 million tons in the Northwest Atlantic, and from about 1.9 million tons to 1.3 million tons in the Northeast Pacific.
The apparent stability of the global catch reported by the FAO study, however, masks significant variations in regional trends. In the Eastern Central Atlantic, for example, the foreign catch has declined from an average level of 2.1 million tons during the period 1975 to 1970 to 1.6 million tons in 1983. The total catch from the region, on the other hand, has remained constant at about 3.2 million tons throughout the entire period, thus demonstrating an increase, albeit modest, in the share of the catch taken by local fishing operations.
In the Southwest Atlantic, foreign fishing operations have increased quite substantially and account for most of the growth of the total catch from 1.1 to 1.6 million tons during the period. In the Southeast Atlantic the average catch from foreign fleets during the period 1975 to 1979 was 1.5 million tons, falling to 1.3 million tons in 1983. This slight decrease, however, was probably the effect of resource variability. Marked increases of coastal countries' shares in this region can hardly be expected as long as Namibia is occupied by the Republic of South Africa and open access is maintained off its coast.
In the Western Central Pacific a modest increase in the catches by foreign countries has been offset by an even higher trend of increase of total tuna catches in the region, tuna being the main target species in the region. In the Eastern Central Pacific, another important tuna region, foreign fishing seems to have been maintained at a stable level.
The negative impression presented by the global catch figures is subject to two further qualifications, both of them of importance for the time frame of development and development potential.
The first qualification is that for those developing countries that have already attained a significant degree of national capacity in the fisheries sector and have adequate economic infrastructure to sustain development, there has indeed been a quite dramatic take-over of resources by the coastal state. One example is Mexico, where the domestic tuna fleet has grown from some 19 vessels in 1970 to 70 vessels in 1982, and the sardine fleet from 60 units in 1970 to 132 in 1982. The development of the fleets and infrastructure in Mexico has resulted in a 69 per cent growth in estimated employment related to fisheries between 1976 and 1979, while fish production rose from 386 500 tons in 1970 to almost 1 565 000 tons in 1981. Rapid development of national effort has also been a feature of some West African fisheries, such as those in Morocco and Senegal, and of fisheries in more developed countries, such as Australia and New Zealand. The qualification, which should hardly be surprising, reflects the converse fact that developing a fisheries industry from scratch, without existing capacity, trained manpower, and infrastructure, is a very costly and time-consuming enterprise. For example, the total capital investment required to finance full development of a national Namibian fishing industry based on a 1.5 million ton catch has been estimated at $450 million.
The second qualification concerns the other benefits being derived in the short term by developing coastal states from the resources newly under their jurisdiction and the degree of control being exercised over the use and potential use of those resources.
Where a coastal state is not yet in a position to take over itself the harvesting of the resources, it may condition the access granted to foreign fleets on the payment of access fees, the formation of joint venture operations or other benefits, such as landing of catch for local processing, employment of local crows and training of national personnel. The benefits to be derived from granting access under licensing arrangements will obviously be less than the potential contribution to the economy that could be obtained from full national use of the resource. A truly national fisheries industry can, for example, contribute to solving nutritional needs, create employment opportunities in the production and supporting services, contribute to national income through wages and surpluses, and earn foreign exchange. The goal of most developing countries will therefore tend ultimately toward the development of full national utilization. Licensing and joint-venture arrangements are usually viewed as intermediate steps toward this goal and can provide much needed information on the fisheries and a means of transferring technology and management skills and experience, as well as purely financial benefits.
Substantial advances. The last few years have seen substantial advances in the financial benefits and degree of control derived from access licensing arrangements. In the Southwestern Pacific, for example, license fees as a percentage of landed catch value have risen steadily from zero to 2-3 per cent, under the first licensing agreements at the outset of extended jurisdiction, through 5 per cent, under the agreements of the early 1980s, to over 10 per cent under the new multilateral fisheries treaty with the USA. Although this latter figure does not yet represent the return to the Pacific Island countries from all foreign fisheries in their waters, it is likely to represent the Pacific Islands' price threshold for future access agreements on purse-seine fisheries. The progress in the South Pacific has come not so much from fortitude in individual bilateral negotiations as from regional solidarity expressed and implemented through the new regional organization, the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency, and its programme of harmonization of fishery regimes. The regionally coordinated approach to the negotiation of access agreements, culminating in the US multilateral treaty, has not only greatly improved the negotiating power of the individual Pacific Island countries and hence the benefits obtained from access agreements, but has also generally enhanced their compliance control powers. Adopting innovative cooperative approaches to compliance control, such as the regional register of foreign fishing vessels and regional arrangements for flag state responsibility, the Pacific Island countries have managed to improve control over fishing operations in their zones while minimizing costs of enforcement, thereby increasing net benefits to themselves as coastal states.
In the South Pacific, as in other regions, the ultimate goal of the coastal states is the development of national fishing industries. While some progress has been made in the establishment of national pole and line fishing fleets, only limited experience has so far been gained with new medium-sized purse-seiners now being introduced in some of the fleets. The urge for national development coupled with the pressures of increased fees on distant-water fishing fleets seems likely to spur a second round of joint-venture activity in the region. Nevertheless in this region, as in other regions dominated by tuna fisheries, it is likely that foreign fishing in one form or another will be a feature of the fisheries for some time to come. Recent trends, however, indicate that real control over the resources and their future utilization is for the first time swinging over to the coastal states.
In the Eastern Central Atlantic (West Africa) region, mention has already been made of the distinct trend toward nationalization of the fishing fleets. Where foreign fleets continue to operate, access fees have increased substantially over the last 5 years. The movement can perhaps be most easily seen in recent EEC access agreements in the area. Most of these show a substantial increase under the heading of financial compensation and contributions to scientific programmes - normally by far the largest element of the access payment. Payments to Guinea under this heading, for example, have risen from 2.3 million ECU over the three year period January 1983 to end 1985, to a total of 8.95 million ECU for the corresponding three-year period ending 7 August 1989, an increase of approximately 289 per cent. Payments to Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe have registered increases in the range of 75 per cent, 884 per cent, and 247 per cent respectively. Although a fair proportion of these increases represents the increased fishing by EEC vessels now that Spanish and Portuguese vessels fall under the EEC rubric, the actual increases in compensation levels are substantial. New agreements with Mauritania and the Gambia show correspondingly high levels of EEC financial compensation (20.94 million ECU and 3.38 million ECU respectively) though there are no earlier agreements with which these can be compared. The level of fees payable by actual fishing vessel operators under these agreements, however, as opposed to financial payments by the EEC, has remained, with one exception, fairly constant.
More important from the point of view of coastal state development are conditions relating to the landing of catches to support developing shore based processing industries and the formation of joint venture operations as in Senegal, Mauritania, and Morocco. In each of these countries these conditions are seen as essential stages in the development of a truly national fishing capacity.
Some countries, such as Senegal, have made advances in the standard of control over foreign fishing operations, while others still have little real control over operations in their zones and, in some cases, little information on the nature and extent of those operations. This region's controls, unlike those in the Western Pacific, are based purely on national systems. Two subregional organizations, however, have recently been set up with one of their main objectives being the adoption of a regional approach toward control over foreign fishing operations. The southern subregional grouping of countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea, promoted by the EEC, has hardly got off the ground. The northern grouping - Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and, more recently, Guinea - has functioned on a semi-formal basis for some years and is now in the process of becoming a treaty-based body.
The Southwest Indian Ocean has been the scene of considerably increased foreign fishing activity over the last few years, aimed mainly at tuna resources. While there is evidence, though limited, of the development of national fishing capacity, mainly in Maldives and Mauritius, substantially increased benefits are now being derived from the foreign operations. The new EEC access agreement with Seychelles, for example, provides for financial compensation and contributions to scientific programmes of 6.75 million ECU over a three-year period - up some 487 per cent from the previous agreement, though again the increases stem, at least in part, from the inclusion of rights for the Spanish fleet under the new EEC agreement. For Seychelles, which is at the hub of the foreign tuna fleet operations, recent studies have indicated that the benefits derived from straight access fees are in fact dwarfed by the other benefits to the economy, including spin-off benefits derived from the basing of the operations and transshipment of fish in that island country. Signs are also apparent of increased interest in the potential of a regional approach to the control of foreign fishing operations. Such an approach would greatly increase the potential effectiveness of coastal states' control over their resources and over activities in their zones. In the meantime, only a few of the coastal states, notably Seychelles, are exercising effective control.
When dealing with access under joint venture arrangements, the distinction between foreign fishing and national fishing becomes more blurred, and substantially increased spin-off benefits may be generated for the national economy in terms of value added to fish products, employment in both primary and secondary fisheries sectors, foreign exchange, taxation, and other forms of revenue. An example is Argentina, where a significant investment programme in the period 1976-79 involving minority foreign participation in joint ventures led to a dramatic, though temporary, increase in landings of 37 per cent per annum in the case of deepwater fishing operations, and an increase in total fisheries exports from under $20 million in 1975 to over $200 million in 1979, though the totals have subsequently declined.
A final qualification should be made this time regarding the target species for foreign fishing operations and the type of fishing methods concerned. For some target species, such as shrimp, for which market demand and values are high and where fishing methods are relatively easy and not capital intensive, the rate of nationalization of the fishing effort is comparatively high. The shrimp fisheries in the northern part of Southern America, in the Gulf region, in the Bay of Bengal, and in West Africa are examples. For other species and methods of fishing that are more capital and technology intensive, such as tuna purse seining, or which have limited markets or other marketing problems, progress in development of a purely national capacity by the developing coastal state will undoubtedly take far more time.
The first decade. In summary, then, at the end of the first decade of extended fisheries jurisdiction, one cannot say that there has been a substantial take over of resources by developing coastal states, in the same way as developed coastal states have appropriated the resource wealth off their coasts. In this sense the "expectations" of developing countries have not been fully realized. This broad quantitative picture, however, masks a number of regional variations, and variations based on the degree of existing infrastructure in individual countries and on target species and methods of fishing. It would also be true to say generally that developing coastal states are receiving greater benefits from the exploitation of the fish resources in their new zones, in terms of access fees and other benefits and that, particularly in some regions, the degree of control by coastal states over the present and potential use of those resources has increased quite dramatically and is increasing.
This latter point is of particular importance for two reasons. First, because most of the world's underexploited fish resources lie in the waters off the coasts of developing countries. Second, because the development of a national fisheries capacity in the poorer coastal states is essentially a long-term proposition. The first step in that direction will be to control the present and potential use of that resource and to preserve for the coastal state the option of national development.
by Engelhard Boehncke
The problems of animal production in Europe today are as follows: overproduction; the use of a great deal of imported feedstuffs; intensive housing systems with a tremendous local and regional concentration of livestock; and animal diseases. Consumers are becoming more and more critical of factory farming.
On the above, most experts agree. However there is nothing but disagreement about what to do.
Desperate attempts to find solutions only bring about new difficulties as governments produce endless regulations to limit overproduction and environmental damage. Politicians in the agricultural sector dismiss organic farming in the belief that ecological agriculture is not economically sound - but they do not do all the sums. They do not count the costs of physically storing surplus milk powder and refrigerating butter and meat, nor do they consider the costs of repairing damaged ecosystems.
This article will attempt to describe the special problems of modern animal production and to suggest some possible solutions in organic farming systems. Two aspects of animal husbandry, animal nutrition and animal health, will be discussed in detail.
Animal nutrition. Animal nutrition in organic farming systems is mainly based on farm-grown feed. That means that both the crop rotation and the number of animals kept must be harmonized with the conditions of the particular farm. Therefore the nutritional demands of livestock are regarded as an integral part of the farming system, the quality of animal feed assumes prime importance.
Feed quality is an intricate question, but the properties of suitable bovine and porcine diets are relatively easy to define because the animals respond visibly to deficiencies and imbalances. For example, a considerable proportion of reproductive disorders in dairy cows is caused by nutritional imbalances. In organic farming it is both possible and necessary to influence the ratios of calcium to phosphorus, potassium to sodium, protein to energy and the amount of roughage in bovine diets by crop rotation and fertilization. Our information on the influence of these relationships is largely derived from intensive animal industry, because overfertilization of pasture to get maximum - but not optimum - yields creates very high levels of potassium, phosphorus, protein, and nitrate in fodder plants.
The relation between nutrition and health in animals goes beyond questions of pasture fertility. It is becoming increasingly obvious that trace elements, minerals, and vitamins act directly on the immune system of the animals. The creation and preservation of a stable herd immunity is one of the principal aims of animal husbandry in organic systems. This is related to another important aspect: Feeding animals in a way that is appropriate to the species contributes to longevity, with the result that a satisfactory life yield becomes possible. For example, a recent study reported that a single sow produced 239 weaned piglets during her 12 years of life. Sustainable agriculture must use different species of animals according to their nutritional demands - ruminants to transform fibre, low-value protein, and nonprotein nitrogen into milk and meat; pigs to utilize waste grain and potatoes, garbage, and leavings. Since the intestinal tract of the pig is comparable to the human gut, pigs do best on a diversified diet.
One of the most frequently found diseases in farrowing sows is mastitis and metritis, caused by coliform bacteria. What makes these microorganisms dangerous is the production of an endotoxin. The same factors which cause a loss of gut motility, such as monotonous diets, also enhance the absorption of endotoxin, which makes the animals seriously ill.
Last but not least, an ethical argument in favour of a reasonable use of farm animals should be mentioned. In eggs, milk, and poultry production, the conversion of the crude protein in the diet into animal body protein is 22-25 per cent, but in beef and mutton it can be as little as 4-5 per cent. Energy conversion rates are equally poor. Is it reasonable that with such low conversion efficiencies intensive animal production can continue in the future?
Knowledge of how to produce animal products in organic farming systems in an environment of minimum competition between man and animals for nutritional resources is still restricted. But some scientists have already started interesting experiments, including a long-term investigation on milk production without concentrates, as a result of which a total of 20 dairy cows yielded an average of 4 851 kg of milk during their second lactation.
Animal nutrition in high external input systems. We will now look at how and why the equilibrium between nutrition and several other factors is disturbed in intensive animal production. Disturbances are usually caused by a high concentration of animals on farms and in certain regions, the unfavourable and excessive fertilization of farm-grown fodder, and the enormous input of concentrates.
Farm animals are, at least to a certain extent, able to defend their metabolic homeostasis against an unfavourable composition of diet. But modern fertilization methods very often alter the ratio of important ingredients to an intolerable level. For example, in one dairy herd with an extremely high incidence of metritis and retained placenta, the animals were being fed a diet containing too narrow a calcium to phosphorus ratio (about 1:1). The potassium to sodium ratio should be near 10:1, but intensively fertilized pasture grass or maize silage may show values of 100:1 and even up to 1000:1 Nevertheless, high external input systems are leading to a tremendous overproduction of milk and meat in several European countries. The social and ecological costs of this overproduction are beyond imagination. Agricultural economists used to believe that it was too expensive to feed calves whole milk. The result was that the butter fat was removed, the skim milk dried, and the milk powder stored up, resulting in a huge "butter mountain". A new proposal for putting an end to this nonsense cycle suggests that the butter fat should be mixed with milk powder in order to reconstitute milk. This would then be fed to calves.
In the Netherlands the regional concentration of animal production creates nearly unsolvable difficulties. Soils are already overfertilized, or rather polluted with phosphorus, copper, and nitrogen. This has forced the Government to stop the extension of animal production in certain regions by law. Again the proposed solutions look odd. Some scientists are reinvestigating the mineral requirements of cows and pigs, since they suspect that the recommended allowances are too high.
All these examples show that most of the agricultural scientists, politicians, and practitioners have not yet understood one of the central messages of our times: human beings, in their quest for economic development, must come to terms with the reality of resource limitation and the carrying capacity of ecosystems.
Animal health in an organic farming system. A sustainable state of good health in a herd implies more than the simple absence of diseases. It represents the result of many very different influences and actions. In other words, merely attacking diseases will not greatly improve animal health. Metabolic problems in dairy cows, such as ketosis, displaced abomasum, and ulcerated rumen can be prevented by avoiding heavy grain rations and feeding enough roughage, which is not a problem in alternative agriculture. Resistance to infectious diseases is mainly based on the specific and unspecific mechanisms of the host defence system. In the past few years we have learned that many more factors influence the immune system than scientists knew about even 20 years ago.
An indeterminable number of papers on the effects of environmental chemicals on the immune system have been published during the past ten years. The interesting fact is that low-level exposure to pesticides and heavy metals, even though it does not cause visible symptoms of intoxication, may induce subtle alterations in the immune systems of many animal species.0
The feedstuffs used in organic farms should have a low level of such substances; this could help to build up animal health. Unfortunately, some kinds of environmental pollution, such as radioactivity and toxic heavy metals, have already spread out all over the world, so in this regard organic farming is as vulnerable as conventional agriculture.
An increasing number of people are now clearly stating that the basic ethological needs of farm animals must be met in husbandry. But only a few have realized the enormous commitment required to modify husbandry standards and methods in order to meet these needs.1 Thus it remains one of the future tasks of biological agriculture to develop appropriate housing systems and to introduce them into organic farming systems. For one thing, a proper environmental and ethological design for husbandry systems reduces the stress level in farm animals. This is important because stress hormones may impair the resistance of farm animals to infectious diseases. Another factor influencing animal health consists in the man-animal relationship. Thus it is no wonder that scientific investigations on such topics as the personality of the successful dairy stockman are appearing.2 In the most striking of these reports, an investigation of calf mortality on several farms, the author found that if the animals were cared for by the farmers wife, the average mortality was only 1 per cent. Mortality increased to 3 per cent if the farmer himself did the job, and reached 9 per cent if the animals were tended by hired staff.3
Animal health problems in high external input systems. Animals housed in modern confinement buildings suffer from several management-related stresses, including animal density, crowding, handling procedures, social status, psychological distress, and noise. Stress may not only affect the immune system but also the hormonal homeostasis of animals. This can be clearly shown with regard to the relationship between stress and fertility.4 Stress hormones may also be of major significance to bovine udder health. They probably promote conditions inside the udder which are favourable to the invasion, survival, spread, and proliferation of bacteria.5 Thus it is easily understandable that infertility and mastitis are two major health problems in modern dairy production.
With growing specialization and intensification, animal production has concentrated in certain regions. Thus a pig belt extending from northwestern Germany across the Netherlands and Belgium to the northern parts of France has come into existence. This concentration has brought about both environmental pollution and severe animal health problems. An enormous density of fast-growing or high-yielding animals represents optimum conditions for the attack of viruses and bacteria. For more than ten years these countries have been facing Aujeszky's disease, which affects pigs, cows, dogs, cats, and other species. Despite numerous legal regulations and good cooperation between agriculture and veterinary medicine, the number of outbreaks in the Federal Republic of Germany increased from 631 in the year 1980 to 1704 in 1985.6
In organic agriculture, the use of antibiotics to treat animal diseases is banned or restricted to exceptional situations. Difficulties arose because alternative veterinary medical methods to replace these remedies were underdeveloped, but now many veterinarians have learned to use homeopathy, acupuncture, and other therapies. These methods of treatment, based on a holistic approach, stimulate the regulatory facilities of the body to restore the disturbed order. In addition, homeopathy and acupuncture have the advantage that they leave no hazardous residues in milk, meat, and eggs.
The application of antibiotics is part of a very different concept. Its most important principle is to fight pathogenic bacteria, but such methods do not adhere to the rule of ecology. And in fact nature has already taken revenge. The problem of microbial resistance to most of the commonly used antibiotics is growing progressively worse. Unless drastic steps are taken, and taken in time, antimicrobial therapy as it has been practised for the past 40 years may no longer be effective by the end of this decade. If that comes about, the world will actually be worse off than before the advent of the antibiotics because today there is a new kind of farm animal: kept in narrow spaces in confinement buildings, stressed by labour-saving housing systems and having an immune system substantially compromised.7
by Anthony Mutsaers
The Third World agricultural development system - the myriad of bilateral donors, governmental and non-governmental, the network of multilateral donors (the UN specialized agencies, especially the World Bank and FAO), their respective multiple domestic power bases, and on the recipient side, Third World governments and their ministries - represents a politically diverse and complex set of well-established bureaucracies. Any change would require a broad-based consensus among all parties concerned that current means and approaches are not reaching proposed objectives. In fact, experience shows that nothing less than a serious crisis in the attainment of objectives is required to shift donor policies toward Third World agriculture.
In the early 1970s, the most important example of such a crisis was the events leading up to the World Food Conference of 1974. The Conference was primarily the result of the realization that in too many countries population growth continued to exceed growth in food production and that little or no progress was being made on the "poverty" front, a message which at that time was powerfully delivered in the form of a series of devastating famines, especially in Africa, and to a lesser extent in Asia. These famines were well publicized on television in all developed countries. The additional severe oil shock at this critical moment paralysed non-oil-exporting less developed countries (LDCs). They did not initiate any corrective action, and the scene was set for a major new policy.
These world events were reacted to by an unlikely coalition of the US Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz; US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and a "rebel" Third World faction within FAO which formulated the position that famines and financial shocks necessitate "National Food Self-Sufficiency" through increased domestic food production by the developing countries. Butz felt that one way to reduce costly US farm support programmes would be by shrinking US grain imports by LDCs through increasing LDC food production. Kissinger supported the idea of a conference to soften the blow from the oil shock to non-oil-exporting LDCs. In turn, this US and LDC coalition was instrumental in generating the support of OECD and Arab oil-exporters.
The resulting World Food Conference of 1974, the first and probably the last of its kind, was attended at the highest level by more than 150 countries. It created, among other items, a US$1 billion "International Fund for Agricultural Development" (IFAD) with the specific aim of assuring national food security, especially for the poorest of the poor.
Given the subsequent dubious record of the LDC agricultural sector, it now seems that the crisis of 1974 has not been adequately addressed, the Conference's good intentions notwithstanding. In fact, the situation has actually deteriorated, particularly in Africa. With regard to per caput food production, between 1974 and 1984 of 23 "low-income African countries" (1984 population 260 million) only two (population 12 million) saw per caput food production exceed population growth. Four witnessed no growth (population 76 million) and in 17 (population 172 million) population growth rates exceeded food production growth. In all eight "medium-income African countries" (population 188 million), population growth exceeded food production growth. In Asia, exactly the opposite occurred. Only in Nepal did population growth exceed food production growth, whereas in Bangladesh and Pakistan, the two rates were equal. In all other countries, but especially in China, there was net per caput growth in food production. In Latin America, only Brazil and Honduras showed an improvement out of the eight countries in the region. It is estimated that all in all in 44 out of 65 countries (representing the bulk of LDC population, China excluded) population growth exceeded food production growth.
Tripled dependence on imports. This poor performance is reflected in the overall figures for food imports and public debt. Low-income and medium-income African and middle income Asian countries doubled and tripled their dependence on cereal imports between 1974 and 1984, in the middle-income African countries up to 80 kg per caput. The levels of agricultural exports dropped dramatically. Financially the African and Latin American countries have increased their external public debt about tenfold and face severe repayment problems. Public budget deficits rose as a result of the phenomenal rise of the expenditure on public administration and defence and the related investments in parastatals.
When it comes to poverty, statistics are confusing and vague. The World Conference on Agricultural Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) papers of the 1987 FAO Conference suggest that absolute poverty diminished in Asia and the Near East, changed little, if at all, in Latin America, and worsened in Africa. Still, about two-thirds of the world's poor are in Asia. In total, these numbers (high estimate) increased from 460 million in 1969/71 to 512 million in 1983/85. WCARRD econometric analysis shows a close correlation between poverty and per caput food production, suggesting that increasing per caput food production is a priority item for economic development.
There are problems however. WCARRD population projections show an increase in the rural population of the developing countries by 162 million between 1980 and 1985. Of this total, 96 million were added to the agricultural population, but only 12 million hectares of additional land was brought under production, which suggests that farms are getting smaller all the time. At the same time, 66 million were added to the rural population, of which, according to ILO, only 25 per cent could find employment. In brief, the rural areas are increasingly characterized by fragmented farms and rural landlessness, the manifestations of poverty.
The future prospects, at least in the medium term, for improvement in both per caput food production and poverty, are worse than ever. Africa was poorer in resources in 1985 than it was a generation ago in 1960. The Near East saw cuts in public expenditures and food subsidies. Non-oilexporting countries fared badly, with slackening emigration, decline of remittances, and dwindling financial and import capability. The economic crisis was most severe in Latin America considering the devaluations, inflation, public budget cuts and lower employment wages.
It is clear from these data that most developing countries are now even less prepared to cope with providing food self-sufficiency and eradicating poverty than they were at the time of the World Food Conference.
There appears little hope that Official Development Assistance (ODA) will fill the gap. Between 1974 and 1984 net annual disbursements of ODA to agriculture from all sources increased only from $7.1 billion in 1978 to $8.0 billion in 1983. Africa's share during this period increased slightly, from 24 per cent to 26 per cent of the total. External private financial flows to agriculture took a nose-dive, especially in Africa and Latin America, and now represent about 15 per cent of the ODA total and are almost exclusively in the agro-industrial manufacturing sector. Nor are there any reasonable chances for major increases in foreign aid flows, given the difficult economic situation in the OECD countries. IFAD's replenishment struggle, placing in doubt for some time the very survival of the Fund which concerns the poorest of the poor, is an all too clear manifestation of this reality.
All this suggests that we are once again facing a grave crisis and that the time has come to look at the possibility of doing more with the available means, of reviewing the efficiency of established ways instead of simply crying for more money. Solutions for survival are now up to industry. Creative development is the word.
The role of agriculture and the rural sectors in the development process. If the food self-sufficiency and poverty problems of the rural sector are to be resolved, LDC governments must be provided with powerful arguments to legislate and enforce policies favourable to agriculture and to the rural sector as a whole and, probably, as part of this policy, to increase significantly agriculture's share of the total investment budget.
Powerful reasons are required because well-embedded historical beliefs have left conscious or even subconscious biases against agriculture, the "traditional" sector, as opposed to the industrial and mining, or "modern", sectors. The inclusion of these two words "modern" and "traditional" are ingrained in the economic development literature for the industrial and agricultural sectors respectively. Together these two words sum up the widespread attitude, in the developed and developing world alike, toward the two sectors.
In the early history of the developing world, the development of the agricultural sector development consisted in the colonial power's strategy of limiting the Third World to the role of supplier of cheap raw materials for its own highly successful industrial development. Undoubtedly, this strategy goes far to explain the urgency with which many newly independent LDCs embraced industrial development as the principal road to their economic salvation. Since these were agricultural societies, such a strategy required the exploitation of agriculture to provide surplus labour and cheap food to keep down industrial wages as well as various forms of agricultural taxation to generate the necessary capital surpluses. Typically, export-oriented cash crops were favoured over domestic foodcrop production, as these both generated foreign exchange and allowed for easy taxation in the form of export taxes.
To stimulate further industrial development and generate the necessary financing, the countries undertook expansionary monetary and fiscal policies (including heavy foreign borrowing) and adopted various related policies to protect "infant" industries through import controls favouring industrial capital and intermediate inputs and food.
As artificially high profits were thus generated in the industrial sector, resources shifted out of agriculture in search of higher returns. Since the expansionary policies usually led to inflation levels higher than world levels, the currencies became overvalued, thus penalizing agricultural exports while lowering the domestic cost of imported industrial sector imports. Cheap imported food lowered farmgate prices for locally consumed agricultural output, while prices of locally produced protected farm inputs rose. The terms of trade turned sharply against agriculture.
The preference for industrial development over agricultural development, however, was more than a simple reaction to colonialism or a result of the belief that industrial development ensured economic growth and modernization.
There was also the issue of access to capital and entrepreneurship. Industrial development is to a large extent predisposed toward private capital and private entrepreneurship. The growth of the industrial and mining sectors requires a minimum of public investment in research, infrastructural support, or marketing. These sectors come essentially as self-contained and sustained private investment packages. Likewise, the investment in the actual production technology itself, the factory, the mine, is essentially private. In contrast, in the agricultural sector, all these activities are, to a large extent, public. If one reviews official IMF, World Bank, or OECD statistics on the sectoral breakdown of foreign private investment, the agricultural sector is conspicuous by its absence.
Then there is the issue of technology. The agricultural sector was dependent on unpredictable nature: there was the need to manage large numbers of producers, widely scattered geographically, with the related problems of access and communications; agricultural technology was dependent on local research and local conditions. It may be understandable that most of the countries considered it safer to depend on industry, safely confined within factory walls in one or a few cities, with known well established technologies based on long and proven history in the developed world, and run essentially by an independent, self-financing dynamic private sector.
Furthermore and these considerations may possibly be the most important - urban aspects of industrial development have obvious political advantages. Given the nature of the democratic base of many LDC governments, satisfying the more vocal, physically concentrated urban population with industrial employment, cheap food and, last but not least, "modern" imported consumer goods, is overriding.
Then there is the actual record of success of such early Newly Industrialized Countries (NlCs) as Japan, the Republic of Korea, the City States (Singapore, Hong Kong), Taiwan province, and, to a lesser extent, Malaysia with their industrial policies. Right now, these serve as role models for many aspiring LDCs, although the possibility of following their examples may currently be very much curtailed.
In these successful exporting countries, the industrialization base was laid in the early 1950s and 1960s, during a period of import substitution. Import substitution creates the first experience with satisfying consumer demand and mass production behind protective barriers. Once domestic demand is satisfied, the industry is prepared to enter international markets.
Strong supporters of export-led development strategies feel that entry in the world export market gives the domestic economy a leanness and an international know-how (technical and managerial skills) and most important, the discipline that comes with a demanding competitiveness of succeeding in such markets. Such characteristics, they reason, are why countries with an export-led strategy, like Korea or Japan, survived the international financial and oil crises. They simply exported themselves out of the crises.
These countries, on the whole, also pursued a more benign policy toward agriculture. The terms of trade were not against agriculture; exchange rates and export taxes did not discourage agricultural exports. Taxation was not excessive and did not discourage agricultural growth. At the same time, public investment budgets for the sector remained high. There were strong policies to assure asset distribution (effective land reform) and to introduce rapid technological change.
Countries like Brazil, the Philippines, Turkey, and Mexico, dominated in the 1960s and early '70s by import substitution policies, did not, by definition, have the export capacity to generate the necessary foreign exchange to avoid the financial crises. The problems of these countries at that time were that reliance on import substitution policies behind comfortable import barriers led to inefficiency, overcapitalization, and managerial laziness, and, as it involved an overvalued domestic currency, an overall misallocation of resources within the economy which was subsequently combined with capital flight. A related negative was that incentives for import substitution, through foreign exchange rationing, increased the cost of imports, making exporting less profitable. The agricultural sector, with the greatest possibilities for exports, suffered most.
Although, since the middle 1970s, these countries have begun to turn toward a balanced, or even export promotion, policy, shedding many of the structural problems created by excessive import substitution, they experienced a very high entry cost. The adoption of the export-led strategy leads to major increases in foreign borrowing in the early periods for imports of intermediate and capital goods; only late in the development process does industry become a net contributor of foreign exchange. These late blooming Newly Industrialized Countries (NlCs) were thus caught in the double bind of having to support high levels of imports without the necessary compensating export levels and with diminishing access to external financing.
A related major problem for these countries was, and still is, that the current world trade environment, with protectionism on the rise, compares unfavourably with the expanding world free trade picture of the 1970s when the early NlCs made their entries.
Alain De Janvry suggests an inward looking change in policy for future aspiring countries: "Given this context of export scepticism and much more orthodox trade and price policies resulting from stabilization efforts, it is clear that expansion of the domestic market to generate final demand for industry will have to play a much greater role than in the previous three decades.
"In an open economy with industrial export scepticism, imperfect substitution between domestic and imported capital goods, binding foreign savings, and significant import substitution possibilities in agriculture without necessary protectionism, productivity growth in agriculture becomes an important new source of economic reactivation."
In fact, in Japan, between 1914 and 1965, 58 per cent of GDP growth (increasing 28-fold during this period) was generated through domestic demand. Studies carried out on Turkey, Korea, and Yugoslavia found that domestic demand accounted for between 63 and 95 per cent of GDP growth. Such considerations now inhibit the wholehearted adoption of an export-led policy on behalf of aspiring newcomers.
An inward-looking orientation would not necessarily imply a total exclusion of the role of exports. Even in the examples cited there remains a critical role for the export sector, but such an orientation rather suggests that a major development thrust would be to activate domestic production for the domestic market. In the agricultural sector this still leaves substantial scope for improving the competitiveness of agricultural exports (especially in Africa), which may have positive spill-over effects for the production for the local markets. World Bank studies show that the development of cash-crop production raises the quality of farming in general (largely thanks to improvement in the input/output system) and thus benefits food crops as well.
The relationship between agricultural and industrial growth. There are other sobering statistics which suggest that an industrial export-led strategy often involves the neglect or exploitation of agriculture because such a strategy ignores the capacity of the agricultural sector to generate industrial demand.
A recent publication, "Investing in Development" (Baum and Tolbert) neatly ranks, with stunning results, about 50 countries by their bias against agriculture (measured by the extent of price distortion) and the related annual GDP growth rate, the domestic savings income ratio, and the annual rate of agriculture and others, as summarized in the table.
As the distortion increases, agricultural and GDP growth rates fall, along with domestic savings. The World Bank, in its 1986 World Development Report, finds a perfect correlation between the industrial growth rate and the agricultural sector growth rate for most of 41 countries, the exceptions being the exporters of oil and minerals. In all other cases, low agricultural growth rates correspond to low industrial growth rate and vice versa. The report concludes, "Agriculture's intimate connections with growth and the wider economy mean that the costs of discrimination against agriculture are not borne by farming alone."
All this suggests that foreign aid should probably be oriented strongly in favour of pro-agricultural policies. It is interesting to note, however, that aid-flows by themselves appear to have a limited effect on agricultural development. Many countries depend heavily on aid; in fact, donors dominate the operating and investment budgets of many African countries and some smaller Asian countries as well. Yet in countries where cereal production growth far exceeds population growth, like China, India, the Republic of Korea, and Indonesia, aid per caput varies from $1 in China to $4 in Indonesia. On the other hand, in low-income food deficit African countries, aid per caput varies from $20 to $30 per year and up to $70 in Somalia. While it may be true that the food-deficit countries would have done worse without aid and that the food-surplus countries could have done even better with aid, it follows that aid does not appear to be essential to agricultural growth.
Agricultural demand led industrial growth (ADLI). The inward-looking development strategy, as presented by Adelman or Mellor does not, like the previous industrial import substitution policies, depend on creating artificial import barriers. Rather it hinges on the development of the agricultural sector and on the demand which a prosperous agricultural sector would generate.
Adelman puts the case as follows:
- Prosperous farmers would require large volumes of inputs from the industrial sector: fertilizer, insecticides, weed-killers, water pumps, agricultural tools and equipment, creating effective domestic demand and employment in these sectors.
- Increased agricultural production calls for increased agro-industrial processing operations, further strengthening industrial output and possibly exports.
- A prosperous rural sector would create a lucrative market for locally made industrial products and related employment. Urban consumers demand more imported goods.
- Demand for rural transport and construction and related materials would increase.
- Per unit of output, the technology of agricultural development, especially of small owner-operated farms, is much more labour-intensive than industrial development technology, and conversely much less capital-intensive. That is, it increases employment and lowers the need for capital, both foreign and domestic.
- Agricultural development requires much less in imports, also per unit of output, than industrial development, since it uses traditionally locally available resources.
- A strong, healthy agricultural sector would produce surplus for exports, which would provide foreign exchange for agricultural inputs.
To assure emphasis on labour-intensive technology and a reduction of imports per unit of output, emphasis should be on small- and medium scale agriculture, as large farms and mechanized government farms usually use imported capital-intensive inputs. Smaller farmers are also more likely to consume local products, including clothing, footwear, and simple consumer durables (bicycles, sewing machines) than larger farmers who might prefer motorcycles and automobiles with a higher import component.
Adelman gives figures to support these arguments. Working with a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model for the Republic of Korea, he shows that, with agriculture contributing 50 per cent to GDP and industry 25 per cent (a typical LDC situation), and an industrial demand multiplier of income originating in agriculture of 1.4 per cent, a 3 per cent agricultural growth rate would generate a 8.4 per cent industrial output growth rate.
Mellor makes essentially the same point by suggesting that the introduction of "technological change" would generate the necessary agricultural growth, and that the resulting increased agricultural production could (a) substitute for imports, (b) be absorbed domestically through accelerated growth in employment and thus purchasing power (in the backward and forward linkage industries serving agriculture), or (c) as a third possibility, be sold on international markets. This resulting increased agricultural income would generate demand for low capital intensity and industrial sector goods and services. Either increased agricultural exports or import substitution would generate or free the foreign exchange to sustain the import of intermediate inputs.
The policy is attractive in that it addresses both agricultural production and the question of near and complete landlessness (agricultural labourers) in the rural areas, by absorbing the rural poor in the backward and forward linkages of the agricultural service sector. It is a sensible recognition of the close interdependence between the agricultural and rural service sectors. The FAO and World Bank literature contains overwhelming evidence that agricultural growth is extremely limited not only by lack of adequate infrastructure, especially roads which affect market costs and producer prices, but also by inadequate and untimely supplies of appropriate fertilizer, improved seeds, and chemicals; easily accessible banking or savings and loan services; appropriate equipment and tools; by inadequate repair and maintenance facilities, improper on-and-off farm storage facilities, underdeveloped wholesale and retail activities, related product advice, and a lack of access to consumer goods. A well-developed agricultural service industry would certainly be one of the most reliable ways to increase agricultural production and raise rural employment. Intensive market penetration would assure high volumes of input supply and output marketing, which would place these goods and services at the disposal of even the smallest farmer, that is, the poorest farmer. Monopolistic profit making would disappear once there is a large, thriving, competitive sector which will try to reach even the smallest farmer, now very often neglected or not reached by the integrated rural development projects, which often benefit larger farmers.
An agricultural development policy such as ADLI could provide the necessary framework for an agriculturally oriented development process which emphasizes food selfsufficiency considerations and poverty elimination. For such a policy to be implemented, the country and the donor community would need to agree on and execute a programme that would:
- Avoid an overvalued exchange rate.
- Adjust effective protection for industrial goods.
- Avoid subsidies and pricing policies which favour larger farmers and create instead agricultural input/output price ratios conducive to owneroriented farm surplus production.
- Keep interest rates sufficiently positive to attract and assure rural savings.
- Keep a balance between urban/ rural wage differentials.
- Price infrastructure at true costs to allow for cost recoveries and infrastructural growth.
- Avoid inflation rates inducing capital flight.
- Increase the public budget investment share of agriculture to about 25 per cent of the total.
- Target the ADLI programme to small owner-operated farmers.
Mathematical modelling is now sufficiently advanced for economists to develop acceptable Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models which would reflect existing baseyear conditions on which the specifics of such future alternative development strategies as outlined above could be realistically simulated. This would provide local and donor policy-makers with a view of what the possible sectoral growth, equity, (employment) public revenue and expenditure, and balance of payments implications are of a variety of agricultural and other policies.
To institutionalize such a capability would require a reorientation for ministries of planning, which are often involved in the preparation of medium-term plans, including lists of projects for up to five years in the future. Such plans in practice reduce at best to "shopping lists" for donors, but have otherwise limited impact. The projects are usually too general and too superficially identified and, in many cases, obsolete after some years, to be considered as serious investment proposals.
A more suitable division of labour would be for such ministries to emphasize macro-policy analysis frameworks within which various sector strategies and investment proposals of the technical ministries may be evaluated.
A stop-gap measure would be the organization of working seminars with participating local governments, donor representatives, and concerned UN agencies. The necessary quantitative framework could be provided by the academic community. Various universities have at their disposal well proven computerized general equilibrium models - CGE models - which can create realistically any variety of quantitative scenarios regarding various industrial/agricultural policy adjustment (exchange rates, taxes, etc.). The model would generate quantified scenarios proposed by the participants on a variety of variables selected by them for discussion among them. Through various iterations, this process could lead, eventually, to an impartial consensual macro policy formulation.
Conditions for a successful adaption of ADLI. Assuming that the intersectoral issues raised above would be addressed at the macro national planning level, there looms large the specific agricultural-sector constraints which currently obstruct the successful implementation of ADLI. There is first the question of the availability of a suitable technology which could be easily and quickly absorbed by the farmer; there are the problems of overcoming current institutional constraints and the question of the management of a greatly improved agricultural support industry (the input-output system). There is, above all, the question of finance. Additional investment funds will have to be generated to set the whole system in motion; increased exports may help, but would most likely not suffice. The second half of this article will address these issues and outline alternative solutions in the next issue.
Issues of agricultural technology. ADLI would require a substantial absorptive capacity of technology to create the rapid and efficient growth required. Given the well-known difficulty development projects have in motivating farmers to adept new technology, this absorptive capacity is often seriously questioned. In response, one should first consider that there is by now sufficient evidence to indicate that farmers respond positively to new technology, provided the incentives are right. Considering risk and other factors, farmers require substantial safety margins in order to invest in new technology. With a positive macro policy toward agriculture, which would improve on the existing farm cost/benefit ratios, one may expect increased demand for inputs at existing levels of technology. In fact, there are many indications that there exists currently in the rural areas, a substantial pent-up demand for additional inputs and improved marketing services. The post-Second World War succession of projects, in combination with mass communications and rural-urban migration, has familiarized the majority of the farmers, even in the most backward areas, with the benefits of fertilizer, pesticides, and other inputs.
Even with the division of most countries into donor coordinated integrated rural development projects, and the myriad of other donor projects, only a fraction of the small farmers are benefiting from reliable access to extension and related input supply and output marketing facilities. It is a fallacy to think that one or even several successive projects suddenly transform a backward primitive shifting-cultivation agricultural area into a modern, high-tech farming community. The typical project can do just so much; everything takes time. If an IRD project can assist 30-50 per cent of the farming community, it already has accomplished a lot.
The situation generally deteriorates, even for the privileged, when the project is terminated or scaled down, or underfunded or mismanaged, all likely events. In all of these cases, the end result is that the government is unable to maintain the project's standards, and often the situation quickly breaks down to preproject conditions, including the total breakdown of the project-supported input supply/output servicing.
All this implies a substantial disequilibrium in the agricultural sector, that is, there is a substantial input supply and related servicing absorptive capacity in the short to medium term at existing levels of technology. To continue to generate demand beyond this period would require the generation of a consensual technology, generally accepted by the epistemological society of experts. Given that the introduction of new technology, is, to a very major extent, a donor affair, substantial improvement in donor coordination would be required to reach the point where ADLI could be based on such a consensual technology.
For example, there are very few homogeneous agro-ecological areas for which agronomists agree on a scientific "technical package". Agronomists associated with agricultural investment project identification, preparation, and appraisal are often put in a situation where they simply put together a package based on long-term personal experience, which, while representing the best of the state of the arts, does lead to the situation where recommendations for the technical package vary from one agronomist to another, from one committee of agronomists to another committee, from one organization to another.
Thanks to the creation of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) (a network of internationally financed international research systems and regional research stations; IITA, in Nigeria, ICRISAT in the Niger, and WARDA in Cd'Ivoire), and other efforts in the Sudan, one may expect improved crop varieties to come along. Already, there have been, for the African continent, Asian rice green-revolution-type breakthroughs in hybrid palm oil in West Africa, cotton in the Sahel, and maize in East Africa. However, in all too many project identification missions, regional research is not always replicated at a national level; and if it is, there are still the applied research experiments to be done for the specific sub-agroecological zone in question, and the on-farm trials.
Summarizing this point, on the donor side, it is not that the multitude of different development experiences and opinions among organizations and within organizations is bad in and of itself. On the contrary, the donor community has benefited from a very rich, very fruitful learning experience. The core of the problem is that very little of this experience is shared; each donor applies only a fraction of what is potentially available. Technology remains too compartmentalized and confined within the learning curve of each actor. There is too little cross fertilization, obstructing severely the rapid development and adoption of new technology for agricultural growth.
Sistemas agroforestales. Principios y Aplicaciones en los Tros, by Florencia Montagni, Laurel Prevetti, and Lori Ann Thrupp. Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and Center for Tropical Agronomy Research and Education (CATIE), San JosCosta Rica, 1986, 818 pp., $20.00
Ancient peoples learned to exploit patterns established by plants and animals as they occurred across the natural landscape and over time. Many traditional human societies developed sophisticated cultivation systems which mimic the horizontal, vertical, and temporal distribution of their local plant and animal communities. These systems yielded food, fibre, and fuel from within the framework of a stable ecosystem, and often shaped societal patterns in return.
It is now clear that monocultural farm, forest, and livestock production methods are sustainable only under certain climatic, topographic, and edaphic conditions. Agroforestry is the rediscovery of ancient concepts of resource management. It is a landuse system in space or time which combines trees with the stable production of crops or livestock, and it is emerging as one powerful and promising technical solution to the problem of human needs versus ecosystem degradation.
Within the last decade agroforestry systems have been advanced primarily by researchers in developing nations, in response to Third World needs. The serious long-term problems of soil erosion and loss of biodiversity are, however, as insidious in temperate climates as in tropical ones, and the principles advanced in the book under review are eminently applicable to temperate regions.
Until now there has been no generally available textbook on the subject. This book is the first basic text and a solid cornerstone of information. It is about long-term solutions, and it will endure. The first six chapters form a pragmatic guide to design and implementation of agroforestry systems. They include an overview, planning, site characterization, systems design, management, evaluation, and strategies for diffusing agroforestry concepts. The seventh and last, chapter is a research-oriented "Perspectivas de los sistemas agroforestales". But these seven chapters make up less than a third of the book. The appendixes are an overwhelming collection of invaluable information. Five detailed case studies are followed by sections of exercises, an instructor's guide, and 15 articles by the world's leading experts on the subject. The last three appendixes form an extensive annotated bibliography, 123 sources of information worldwide, a country-by-country review of institutions involved in agroforestry work, a world guide to sources of seed and genetic material, and sources of audiovisual and periodical media. The last appendix includes a 27-page index of plant species used in inventoried agroforestry systems in Latin America, and a 48-page catalogue of existing agroforestry systems in Latin America. Needless to say, this appendix is a compilation of an enormous amount of information, and completes the list of what this book is: text, teaching manual, and reference.
A massive work. This is not to say that the book is perfect. It is a first work, and a massive one at that. The senior author solicits suggestions for improvements to future editions. The weakest part of the book is undoubtedly chapter 3, "Planeamiento de sistemas agroforestales", and I suspect that this deficit reflects the state of the applied art. Part of the problem may also be inherent in a technical manual which must cover potential applications of unspecified scale. Although differing scales are indicated (regional, farm, field, species component) in a table with items to be considered in planning, the treatment lacks depth. The need for information to be used in assessment of environmental factors for project planning is given lip service in the name of potential fiscal constraints. While finances may constitute realistic limits for projects, the lack of an adequate planning strategy, based upon ecological principles, is a serious limitation to the comprehensive nature of this book. A reader might ask if this lack does not mimic the age-old problem which agroforestry concepts have the potential to solve: immediate need (money) versus environmental degradation. This deficiency points out that there is still work to be done. The authors have taken a gigantic first step, and their book is an unquestionable must for anyone interested in agroforestry.
The Economics of Oil Palm, by H.A.J. Moll. Economics of Crops in Developing Countries No. 2, Pudoc, Wageningen, 1987, 288 pp.
This book results from a research project aimed at a better understanding of the economics of tropical crop production mounted by the Department of Economics, Agricultural University, Wageningen, the Netherlands. A monograph on the subject of coffee appeared in 1986; this on oil palm is the second, and studies on maize and cotton are planned.
Moll's stated objective is to describe and analyze the oil-palm sector in a representative group of countries and the role of the commodity within each nation's economy. The microeconomics of production, processing, and marketing, as well as the macroeconomics of the respective oil-palm sectors, are given emphasis.
The book is organized in two parts, the first composed of two chapters, the second devoted to eight case studies. The introductory chapter reviews the current status of cultivation of the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and of its products on a general world scale. Succinctly touched upon are the ecological requirements of the palm, fruit bunch production, processing of palm oil and kernel oil, and the international production and trade of oil-palm products as related to the global economy of fats and oils. Nineteen tables complement the text.
Chapter two, "Comparative Analysis", the core of the book, provides an explanation of the economic analysis employed to compare case studies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Cameroon, Cd'Ivoire, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Colombia, and Honduras, representative countries of the three major production regions, Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Latin America. Ecological conditions of oil palm and alternative crops are examined. Production is discussed in terms of three major systems, subdivided into five types of producers: estates (state and private); smallholders cultivating pure stands of improved palms (integrated and independent); smallholders deriving fruits from semi-wild stands. Data clearly show that the first two production systems have become dominant over the past 25 years. In the discussion of processing and marketing, most notable is the increasing export of processed over crude palm oil, as the producing countries upgrade facilities and expand capacity. As a result, the direction of trade is undergoing significant changes. Attention is given to the fact that in order to be domestically successful and internationally competitive the oil palm industry requires a variety of supporting services provided by governments and/or private organizations. Malaysia's world dominance as a producer and exporter is directly attributable to such services. The chapter ends by comparing production costs, domestic and international market prices, and foreign exchange in the eight countries. Because data were unavailable, Nigeria and Sierra Leone are omitted from the analysis of production costs and returns.
The detailed case studies of the second part are comprehensive and furnish an excellent summary of the individual oil-palm sectors. Each follows a prescribed outline detailing the background, ecology, oil-palm sector, production of oil and kernels, processing, marketing, supporting services, and, finally, economic parameters. A map of production areas, a diagram showing the organization of the oil-palm sector, and numerous tables are provided.
Long needed. The organization of the book is not entirely satisfactory. It is unusual to find the comparative analysis before the case studies on which it is based. As it stands, the final case study on Honduras ends the book rather abruptly. The organization would have benefited from a shorter chapter to introduce the case studies and the addition of a final chapter to present the general analysis and conclusions. Second, placing the references in a combined bibliography at the end of the book would have avoided repetition of standard FAO and World Bank sources used in nearly every chapter.
Minor shortcomings of an editorial nature are also to be found. Chapter references include some works not cited in the text. The case study chapters contain tables of economic parameters, currency equivalents, and price indices which are neither numbered nor referred to in the text, as is the case with all other tables. Also, sources are missing from several tables. The book has no index.
The text is clearly written, but there are a few misleading sentences or minor factual errors. For example, it is stated (p. 22) that "The American oil palm, Elaeis oleifera, is another species in the genus Elaeis," and that it "could become useful for breeding purposes." In fact, it is the only other species, and currently is being used to breed for disease resistance. On p. 215, the statement is made that the West African Institute for Oil Palm Research was established in 1938. However, WAIFOR only came into existence in 1952, having been developed out of the former Oil Palm Research Station, an experiment station of the Agricultural Department of Nigeria which was started in 1939. To be sure, these are minor matters and do not detract from the economic analysis.
Although the book claims to refer to the oil palm situation in 1982, this is not quite accurate. The author must have been aware of the important body of new information generated by two international conferences held in Malaysia in June 1981.
The oil palm has become one of the most successful tropical tree crops of the twentieth century. A comprehensive economic study of this crop has long been needed. Despite the misgivings expressed above, The Economics of Oil Palm fills this need and I do recommend it.
Dennis V. Johnson