Sectorial interface requirements
However appropriate and realistic the design of a sustainable farming system
may be, it is necessary to ensure that threats to it from other sectors are
eliminated or significantly minimized. For example, poor road construction could
result in flooding, eutrophication and erosion, all of which can seriously
damage farm land and even fish-ponds or stream fisheries. A related example is a
policy issue such as structural adjustment aimed at increasing export earnings
or at reducing debt burdens. This may result in a lot of forest areas being
cleared for the commercial row-growing crops, which will expose the soil to
erosion. Similarly, removal of subsidies may result in farmers not using
fertilizers which, in turn, will result in environmental degradation. Therefore,
designing sustainable agricultural or farming systems and adhering to the design
alone will not ensure sustainability unless policies, strategies, technologies,
systems and components of resource management, and input/technology use in other
sectors such as forestry, fisheries, animal production, manufacturing
industries, tourism and management of nature reserves and trade are designed to
ensure sustainability in development devoid of adverse impacts on the other
sectors. A few examples of sectoral activities in one sector which affect other
sectors are presented below:
Uncontrolled expansion of agricultural land reduces land available for
reserves, forestry and other multiple land use requirements.
land use and expansion of agricultural land may result in reduc ing land
available for pastures, culminating in overgrazing.
- Deforestation and
inappropriate logging practices could cause erosion, landslides, siltation of
- Poorly managed industrial expansion could result in
chemical pollution of the air and streams.
- Unregulated hunting and
collection of trophies for sale to tourists or for export could result in loss
of biodiversity and in ecosystem deterioration.
- Lack of family planning
and uncontrolled population growth causes increased pressures on land resources,
shortening the duration of periods of fallow and resulting in poor vegetation
cover and erosion.
All these call for not only integrated land use planning but also adoption of
a holistic approach in development planning, in policy formulation and in
selecting strategies and the execution of development programmes. The earlier we
pay attention to these, the