|A 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment: The Vision, Challenge, and Recommended Action (IFPRI, 1995, 56 p.)|
The above review of problems and challenges suggests that the 2020 Vision - eradication of hunger and malnutrition, sustainable management of natural resources, and efficient, effective, and low-cost agricultural systems - will be realized only if broad-based economic development is accelerated, particularly in low-income developing countries; if sound practices for managing natural resources are adopted; if investments in research, technology, and infrastructure are enhanced; if competitive markets are encouraged; if women have a greater voice in decisionmaking at all levels; if low-income people, especially women, gain greater access to remunerative employment, productive assets, markets, education, and health care; and if armed conflicts and civil strife are limited.
Agricultures dual contribution in fostering broad-based sustainable economic development and meeting future food needs must be better recognized and exploited. Agriculture is a major contributor to overall economic development in developing countries, especially the lowest-income ones where it provides three-quarters of employment, nearly half of GDP, and more than half of all export earnings. The recent tendency by international development institutions and developing-country governments to reduce investments in agriculture because the global food supply situation is sufficient to meet current market demand fails to recognize that many people go hungry because they are too poor to convert their food needs into effective market demand. It also fails to recognize the tremendous opportunities the agriculture sector offers for accelerating broad-based economic development and reducing poverty in both rural and urban areas, thereby improving food security. Developing countries must take advantage of the opportunities offered by the agriculture sector to realize the 2020 Vision.
No magic solution will make the 2020 Vision a reality. The action needed is not new, but it will require joint efforts by and new or strengthened partnerships between individuals, households, farmers, local communities, the private sector, civil society national governments, and the international community. It will require a change in behavior, priorities, and policies. And it will require strengthened cooperation between industrialized and developing countries as well as among developing countries.
Developing countries must take advantage of the opportunities offered by the agriculture sector to realize the 2020 Vision.
Each country must design its own action program. As a general guideline, however, research and consultations identified the need for sustained action in six priority areas to realize the 2020 Vision. Specific recommendations for action are provided below for each of these areas. These recommendations may serve as a point of departure for the design of country-specific strategies and action:
1. Strengthen the capacity of developing-country governments to perform appropriate functions;
2. Enhance the productivity, health, and nutrition of low-income people and increase their access to employment and productive assets;
3. Strengthen agricultural research and extension systems in and for developing countries;
4. Promote sustainable agricultural intensification and sound management of natural resources, with increased emphasis on areas with agricultural potential, fragile soils, limited rainfall, and widespread poverty;
5. Develop efficient, effective, and low-cost agricultural input and output markets; and
6. Expand international cooperation and assistance and improve its efficiency and effectiveness.
The strategy discussed here is focused mostly on developing-country governments; however, it should be recognized that industrialized countries have a responsibility to maintain policies, including agriculture and trade policies, that facilitate, rather than impede, the realization of the 2020 Vision.
Each country must identify the appropriate functions of its government vis-a-vis other parts of society. The governments capacity to perform these functions must be strengthened while it relinquishes those functions better performed by others.
Strengthening the Capacity of Developing-Country Governments to Perform Their Appropriate Functions
More effective national and local governments are essential to realize the 2020 Vision. The other partners - individuals, households, farmers, private sector, NGOs, and other members of civil society - cannot realize the 2020 Vision on their own. The success of their efforts depends on the economic, social, and political conditions created or supported by governments.
A transition in the role of governments has been under way in a number of countries in recent years, but there remains considerable confusion and disagreement about their role. Current efforts to reform the public sector threaten to weaken the ability and capacity of many governments to carry out the activities they should undertake. Each country must identify the appropriate functions of its government vis-a-vis other parts of society. The governments capacity to perform these functions must be strengthened while it relinquishes those functions better performed by others. Predictability and transparency in policymaking and enforcement, currently lacking in many countries, are critical to assist the private sector to anticipate the investment environment. Continuity in policy design and implementation is also important.
Improved security and personal safety in rural and urban areas are prerequisites for realizing the 2020 Vision; governments must maintain law and order. Where armed conflicts and civil strife are occurring or are imminent, civil society, governments, and the international community must give priority to conflict resolution and prevention. International development institutions, in partnership with governments and communities, should expand and strengthen early warning systems and response mechanisms for food and political crises. National and international development agencies should incorporate conflict prevention into program and project planning by identifying areas where the potential for conflict is high and defusing them by delivering aid in a manner that avoids competition and fosters or demands cooperation among groups or communities; by directing resources to those areas that might be conflict-prone; by finding and promoting engines of growth to overcome perceived scarcities and to move people beyond scarcities; and by providing opportunities for men and women from conflict-affected areas to participate in project planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Governments must develop and enforce rules, regulations, standards, and measures in private-sector markets and promote and assure competition in these markets. States play an important role in assuring that conditions necessary for competition in private-sector markets are present. Governments must also invest in or facilitate private-sector investment in education, health care, agricultural research, infrastructure, and other public goods.
Policies to support the 2020 Vision should be guided by a long-term national strategy for food security, human nutrition, agricultural development, and management of natural resources. The agricultural system (including production, processing, distribution, and related activities) is likely to be the most appropriate cornerstone of such a strategy, especially in low-income developing countries, given its pivotal role in food production, income generation, employment provision, export earnings, and general economic development.
If, as many countries have agreed, freedom from hunger is a basic human right, governments should live up to this commitment by facilitating a social and economic environment that provides all citizens with the opportunity to obtain adequate food. Rather than striving for national self-sufficiency in food (by producing all of the food needed to meet market demand), countries should strive for sustainable self-reliance in food (by producing or importing enough food to meet market demand at reasonable prices).
An appropriate macroeconomic environment is essential to realize the 2020 Vision. Governments must maintain exchange rates and monetary and fiscal policies appropriate for accelerated broad-based economic development. Subsidies (explicit and implicit), policies, and regulations that lower the cost of capital relative to labor and promote capital-intensive growth where labor is relatively cheap must be avoided. Macroeconomic reforms and structural adjustment programs should be continued, but redesigned where necessary to promote enhanced access by the poor to income-generating assets and to protect the poor from negative effects.
Governments can facilitate the transition to more open international markets and increased trade by investing in market information facilities and other infrastructure; by adopting policies to help diversify production of goods and services in response to emerging markets and changing relative prices; by improving the competitiveness of agricultural and other systems; and by developing and expanding small-scale, labor-intensive, private-sector agricultural processing in both rural and urban areas. Governments should invest in or facilitate private-sector investment in storage, transfer, transport, and marketing services.
For the 2020 Vision to be realized, the efforts and contributions of civil society must be fully recognized and supported and a more effective coordination and distribution of labor between government and civil society must he achieved.
Developing countries must enhance their access to international markets through bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations and regional integration. They should push for full and timely implementation of the recently concluded GATT agreement, and press for further reform of global trade in agriculture and other sectors to accelerate income growth and assure that the increasing trend toward regional trade or economic arrangements is compatible with subsequent international trade liberalization. At the same time, they should implement existing regional integration agreements in a manner that does not preclude subsequent global integration.
As governments strengthen their capacity to fulfil their proper role, they must let go of activities best done by other groups in society, such as private enterprise or NGOs. In many countries, NGOs and other parts of civil society have come to play a much more important role in areas traditionally covered by government, such as poverty relief and other transfer programs for low-income people, health care and nutrition programs, income-generation schemes, credit programs for low-income rural households, management of natural resources, and agricultural extension. NGOs have also been effective in influencing government action through advocacy. For the 2020 Vision to be realized, the efforts and contributions of civil society must be fully recognized and supported and a more effective coordination and distribution of labor between government and civil society must be achieved.
National governments must delegate more policy responsibility and authority to provincial and local governments and encourage fuller participation by local people in local decisions. This will make government policies and public-sector spending more effective and responsive to local needs and resources while providing a better foundation for interaction between government and civil society.
In summary, the 2020 Vision initiative recommends that governments should
· Assure predictability, transparency, and continuity in policymaking and enforcement;
· Engage in conflict resolution and prevention, in collaboration with civil society and the international community;
· Establish and enforce property rights in collaboration with local communities;
· Develop a national strategy to achieve the goals embodied in the 2020 Vision;
· Facilitate the work of NGOs;
· Enforce rules, regulations, and measures to promote and assure competition in private-sector markets;
· Maintain exchange rates and monetary and fiscal policies appropriate for broad-based economic development;
· Seek improved access to international markets through bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations and regional integration and press for further reform of global trade; and
· Delegate policy responsibility and authority to local governments and encourage local participation in decision making.
The international assistance agencies, including bilateral donors and multilateral institutions, should support these actions through technical and financial assistance.
Enhancing the Productivity, Health, and Nutrition of Low-Income People and Increasing Their Access to Employment and Productive Assets
The 2020 Vision will not be realized unless developing countries invest in poor people to improve their well-being, increase their productivity, and enhance their access to remunerative employment and productive assets.
Governments, local communities, and NGOs should assure access to a complete primary education for all children, with immediate emphasis on improved access for female and rural children; to primary health care, including reproductive health services, for all people; to clean water and sanitation services; and to training for basic literacy and skill development in adults. They should work together to strengthen and enforce legislation and provide incentives for gender equality. Improved access by the rural poor, especially women, to productive resources can be facilitated through land reform and sound property rights legislation, strengthened credit and savings institutions, more effective labor and land markets, and infrastructure for small-scale enterprises. Labor-intensive public works programs have proven effective in generating employment, raising incomes, alleviating poverty and food insecurity, and creating infrastructure. Governments must expand employment through broad-based economic development, using agriculture as the engine of growth in low-income developing countries, and removing implicit and explicit subsidies on labor-replacing capital.
Investments to increase the productivity of rural people should take high priority in most developing countries, partly because the majority of the poor are found in rural areas and partly because failure to increase productivity of rural people can result in excessive outmigration and associated increases in urban poverty as well as further degradation of natural resources in areas receiving the migrants.
The rate at which population grows in developing countries is one of the key factors conditioning when and whether the 2020 Vision is realized. Strategies to reduce population growth rates include providing full access to reproductive health services to meet unmet needs for contraception; eliminating risk factors that promote high fertility, such as high rates of infant mortality or lack of security for women who are dependent on their children for support because they lack access to income, credit, or assets; and providing young women with education. Female education is among the most important investments for realizing the 2020 Vision.
Direct transfer programs, including programs for poverty relief, food security, and nutrition intervention, are needed in many countries, at least in the short term. Such programs must be better targeted to the poor, and their food security effects monitored. Social safety nets for the rural poor are urgently needed. To assure appropriateness, the intended beneficiaries and the communities where they are located should be involved in the design, implementation, and monitoring of programs. Empowering women to have a voice in local decisionmaking will enable their needs to be recognized and addressed. The national capacity of most developing countries for identifying and targeting vulnerable individuals, households, and communities should be strengthened. Governments must maintain support for effective famine early warning systems and other disaster preparedness and management systems.
While national governments will continue to have a critical role in supporting the policies and programs described, the contributions of local communities and NGOs must also be strengthened. A better integration of the various actors and their responsibilities is urgently needed. Governments should find ways to transfer public funds to NGOs and local communities for programs best handled by them. Governments and NGOs should identify low-cost methods for providing social services to rural areas and seek opportunities for financing through user fees and other means of community-based resource mobilization.
In summary, the 2020 Vision initiative recommends that governments should
· Assure access to and support for a complete primary education for all children, with immediate emphasis on female and rural children;
· Assure access to primary health care, including reproductive health services, for all people;
· Improve access to clean water and sanitation for all people;
· Provide training in literacy and skill development for adults;
· Strengthen and enforce legislation and provide incentives to empower women;
· Improve access by the poor to productive resources;
· Improve targeting of programs to the poor; and
· Maintain support for effective early warning systems and other disaster preparedness and management systems.
International assistance agencies should provide financial support for these actions on grant terms or as long-term low-interest loans.
Strengthening Agricultural Research and Extension Systems in and for Developing Countries
To realize the 2020 Vision of access to low-cost food for all people, developing countries, especially the low-income ones, must increase the productivity of agricultural production per unit of land and per agricultural worker and decrease unit costs in agricultural production, processing, and distribution.
The required productivity gains will be possible only if agricultural research systems are mobilized to develop improved agricultural technologies and techniques and if extension systems are strengthened to assure dissemination of the improved technologies and techniques to both male and female farmers. In many developing countries, especially the low-income ones, the public sector will have to carry out much of the needed agricultural research. Private-sector agricultural research is virtually nonexistent in these countries and is unlikely to increase significantly in the near future because private companies cannot capture enough benefits to make such investment worthwhile. If appropriate laws on intellectual property rights are designed and enforced, some of the required research could be undertaken, or at least financed, by the private sector, but it is likely that private-sector agricultural research will continue to play a much more important role in higher-income developing countries than in lower-income ones. Interactions between public-sector agricultural research systems, farmers, private companies that conduct research, private enterprises in food processing and distribution, and NGOs should be strengthened to assure relevance of research and appropriate distribution of responsibilities.
Each country must decide how much to invest in agricultural research, given its own priorities and options as well as expected economic benefits and the benefits forgone by not investing the funds elsewhere. If the 2020 Vision is to be realized, however, low-income developing countries must sharply expand their investments in agricultural research. A minimum target of 1 percent of the value of total agricultural output is appropriate for most low-income developing countries, with a longer-term (5-10 year) target of 2 percent. Priority should be given to redressing the balance between scientific personnel and other expenses; in many low-income countries, including most of those in Sub-Saharan Africa, available funds per agricultural researcher are insufficient to assure efficient and effective use of the human resources.
Each country should develop a portfolio of research activities that addresses its needs, including needs articulated by small farmers, and expected social returns. Agricultural research should also be conducted on crops that women grow, and should utilize more fully womens indigenous knowledge base. Research activities should aim to reduce unit costs in agricultural production, processing, and distribution; increase the quantity and improve the quality (including the nutritional quality) of food produced; assure sustainability in production through sound use of natural resources; reduce risks and losses in production, processing, and distribution; and reduce the use of chemical pesticides where possible.
In many developing countries, especially the low-income ones, the public sector will have to carry out much of the needed agricultural research.
Although more research is needed for all ecoregions, there is an urgent need for research on areas with significant agricultural potential; low or irregular rainfall, fragile soils; large populations of poor people; and high risks of land degradation, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity. Although specific research priorities should be determined separately for each region, additional research is necessary to develop drought-tolerant and pest- and disease-resistant crops, biological pest management, nitrogen fixation, more effective use of locally available organic materials, intercropping systems, and perennial crops, including agroforestry.
Since the tools and techniques of modern molecular biology are being developed primarily in OECD countries, new partnerships need to he forged between private-and public-sector research in these countries, developing-country research institutions, and international agricultural research centers.
National agricultural research must be supported by a vibrant international agricultural research system that undertakes strategic research of a public-goods nature with large international benefits. Current investment in international and regional agricultural research is grossly insufficient to provide the support needed by national agricultural systems and must be substantially increased to realize the 2020 Vision.
In industrial countries, biotechnology research by private companies and public-sector agricultural research institutions is producing exciting breakthroughs and significant gains for agriculture. However, this research is focused on temperate-zone agriculture. With some notable exceptions, such as the work on rice sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the work done by some member centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), advances in biotechnology for agriculture are bypassing developing countries, particularly the low-income ones located in tropical regions, because the results are often irrelevant to their agricultural problems. It is urgent that modern molecular biology be brought to bear on the agricultural problems of developing countries.
Few developing countries can afford to develop the tools of biotechnology. Even fewer can afford not to use these tools as they become available. Since the tools and techniques of modern molecular biology are being developed primarily in OECD countries, new partnerships need to be forged between private- and public-sector research in these countries, developing-country research institutions, and international agricultural research centers. Each developing country should develop a clear policy on and research agenda for biotechnology based on existing and potential future research capacity and opportunities for regional cooperation and partnerships. To enhance the social benefits of agricultural research, including biotechnology, developing countries should develop clear intellectual property rights and biosafety regulations and remove inappropriate legal and institutional barriers to private investment in research needed to bring about the 2020 Vision.
International assistance is required to support a research portfolio appropriate for each developing country; to increase support for international agricultural research; and to facilitate biotechnology research in OECD countries that is sharply focused on developing-country problems. Partnerships need to be enhanced among national agricultural research institutions in developing countries, international agricultural research institutions, and relevant public-and private-sector institutions and companies in OECD countries in order to expand research of critical importance for developing countries.
Effective interactions between farmers and research institutions are essential for disseminating research results and technology and assuring that research priorities reflect the needs of farmers. In some countries, the private sector and farmer cooperatives effectively perform these extension functions. Because of its public-goods nature, however, agricultural extension for small-scale farmers producing staple foods must continue to be provided primarily by the public sector.
The importance of information for the agricultural system will increase dramatically between now and 2020.
Public-sector extension in developing countries has a mixed performance record. Innovative strategies and techniques are required to assure effectiveness in the future. Extension services must strengthen communications between researchers and farmers and among farmers themselves. The importance of information for the agricultural system will increase dramatically between now and 2020. Mass media - utilizing satellite communications technology, radio, and video - can help transmit to farmers technical and market information adapted to their regions or farming systems. Extension programs conducted by the public sector and nongovernmental organizations can help local farmers or groups to improve land husbandry, make community investments, coordinate farm investments, obtain access to various sources of information, experiment with farming techniques, and share local innovations. New approaches to extension include providing farmer groups with matching resources to contract for private or public extension services.
In summary, the 2020 Vision initiative recommends that governments should
· Raise national agricultural research expenditures in developing countries rapidly to a target of at least 1 percent of the value of agricultural output with a longer term (5-10 years) target of 2 percent;
· Develop a portfolio of research activities that address the countrys needs;
· Expand agricultural research for all ecoregions, with emphasis on areas with significant agricultural potential but with fragile soils, low or irregular rainfall, and widespread poverty and natural resource degradation;
· Strengthen interaction between public-sector agricultural research systems, farmers, private enterprises, and NGOs to assure relevance of research; and
· Develop a clear policy on and agenda for biotechnology research; forge partnerships between developing-country research systems, international research institutions, and private- and public-sector research institutions in industrialized countries; and provide incentives for the private sector to undertake biotechnology research focused on the problems of developing-country farmers.
International assistance agencies should
· Increase financial support for national and international agricultural research for developing countries;
· Facilitate biotechnology research sharply focused on developing-country problems in public-sector research institutions of industrialized countries; and
· Strengthen partnerships among national agricultural research institutions in developing countries, international agricultural research institutions, and relevant public- and private-sector institutions and companies in industrialized countries to expand research of critical importance for developing countries.
Promoting Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Sound Management of Natural Resources, with Increased Emphasis on Areas with Agricultural Potential, Fragile Soils, Limited Rainfall, and Widespread Poverty
A large share of the worlds poor, food-insecure, and malnourished people live in rural areas with significant agricultural potential, limited and unreliable rainfall, and fragile soils. The land in these areas is often degraded and deforested. The 2020 Vision cannot be realized without large investments in these areas. They require public- and private-sector investments in infrastructure, market development, natural resource conservation, soil improvements, agricultural research, reproductive health services and family planning, primary education, and primary health care and nutrition programs. Although, in the long run, outmigration may be the answer for some of these areas, few countries are in a position to take in large numbers of mostly poor and poorly educated people between now and 2020. Moreover, outmigration merely transfers poverty and population pressures to urban areas and rural areas with better natural resources. Failure to address the problems within the areas themselves will accelerate degradation of natural resources and increase poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition.
In areas where current productivity is low but agricultural potential is significant, public policy and public-sector investment should promote sustainable use of existing natural resources to enhance the productivity of agriculture and other rural enterprises. Governments, in close collaboration with local communities and nongovernmental organizations, should establish and enforce clearly specified systems of rights to use and manage natural resources, including land, water, and forests. Incentives, such as partial coverage of costs, should be provided to farmers and local communities to undertake activities to restore degraded lands. Local control over resources should be enhanced and enforced, and local capacity for organization and management should be improved. Public institutions responsible for managing and regulating publicly and privately owned natural resources must be reformed to increase user participation in management and to provide incentives for private and community investment in and protection of resources. New forms of land- and other resource-improving investments, such as cofinancing between local communities, government, and private corporations should be explored. Appropriate policies are needed to address the problem of externalities, in which the costs of a decision made by a person or group of persons may have to be borne by others. Such externalities, including failure to account fully for the effects of actions on future generations, may lead to another problem: inappropriate pricing of resources.
Efforts at natural habitat preservation should be pursued where critical to protect biodiversity, preferably in areas that are sparsely populated, have little or no infrastructure, and are of a size that can be effectively policed. Intensified agricultural production may be inappropriate for these areas. A moratorium on construction of infrastructure, particularly roads, that attract new migrants to these areas should be considered. Farmers and communities can be encouraged to establish protected habitat areas, such as wildlife corridors, and sacred groves, or to reestablish native vegetation along waterways or roads. Where protecting such areas presents clear international benefits, international contributions should support alternative sources of livelihood for populations in and around the areas.
Low and declining soil fertility is a widespread and serious problem in many developing countries, including most of those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Past and current failures to replenish soils with the nutrients removed must be rectified through the balanced and efficient use of plant nutrients from both organic and inorganic sources and through improved soil management practices. In view of the size and seriousness of the soil fertility problem in many low-income, food-deficit developing countries, policies providing incentives for farmers and communities to implement integrated soil fertility programs are needed. Such policies should focus on assuring clear, long-term property rights to land; access to credit, improved crop varieties, and relevant information about efficient fertilizer use in various production systems; efficient and effective markets for plant nutrients; investments in roads and rural transportation systems; and temporary fertilizer subsidies where prices are high due to inadequate infrastructure or poorly functioning markets. Fertilizer subsidies, which are not generally desirable or advisable, may be the only way to raise fertilizer use in some locations where it is most needed. In the longer term, fertilizer costs to farmers can be reduced and the need for price subsidies eliminated by investing in distribution infrastructure, providing innovative ways to share risks and finance, and encouraging regional cooperation for country-level fertilizer production facilities and procurement.
Developing countries should adopt national policies to use only enough chemical pesticides to be effective and to minimize the negative effects of such pesticides.
As concerns build about the environmental and health consequences of chemical pesticides, alternative pest management techniques must be developed to lower the substantial crop losses that occur every year due to pests. These losses must be reduced if an increasing world population is to be fed largely from existing land. Developing countries should adopt national policies to use only enough chemical pesticides to be effective and to minimize the negative effects of such pesticides. IPM programs should be promoted as the central pest management strategy. Such programs rely on safe and environmentally sound techniques such as biological control, host-plant resistance, and biopesticides, while using chemical pesticides only as a last resort. Extension of IPM, which has been successfully implemented in many locations, should receive both national and international support. Governments are also advised to remove pesticide subsidies; to increase investment in research on safe and environmentally sound alternatives to chemical pesticides; to facilitate private-sector investment in new strategies; to retrain research and extension staff in new techniques; and to ensure that farmers accept and implement the effective and appropriate strategies of pest management that are developed.
According to 2020 Vision consultations, a large share of existing land degradation is technically reversible, but the cost of doing so is high.
According to 2020 Vision consultations, a large share of existing land degradation is technically reversible, but the cost of doing so is high. For example, large investments are needed to drain waterlogged areas and to replenish soil nutrients. In most cases, neither market nor policy incentives are presently strong enough for farmers or other private-sector agents to undertake them. Thus, either the government must make the investment or the land will be left to deteriorate further until incentives are right. When prices for productive agricultural land increase, prices for food or other agricultural commodities rise, or technological improvements create a potentially profitable situation, the degraded land will be restored. Another option is to increase the productivity of degraded land through research: for example, crop varieties with higher salt tolerance could be developed to permit planting in salinized soils. Even though some damage from degradation can be overcome, minimizing degradation in the first place is usually much less expensive.
Natural fisheries are another resource for which government action is urgently needed to avoid unsustainable exploitation. Recognizing that natural fisheries are open access areas, the international community must develop and enforce a global program of coordination and restraint to prevent exploitation of these areas beyond sustainable limits. International codes and regulations must allow for recovery of fisheries that have been overexploited and must halt intensive use in areas where fisheries are fully exploited. Since takes from marine fishing are already far in excess of sustainable limits and economic efficiency, governments should reduce fishing in the short run and help fishermen move to other occupations.
Growing national, regional, and local water scarcities will depress agricultural production, worsen water-related health problems, degrade land and water resources, and catalyze water conflicts between users within a country and between countries. To address water scarcities, new water resources must be developed and better use made of existing water supplies. National governments should invest in carefully selected, economically efficient projects to develop new sources of water from dams and wells.
Because developing new water resources is expensive and potentially harmful to the environment, and because it may displace people from dam and reservoir sites, only a portion of rising demand can be met from new sources. A larger share of water to meet growing demands will have to come from more efficient use of water in agriculture, industry, and urban areas. National governments must embark on comprehensive water policy reforms to improve incentives to users to save water to improve procedures for water allocation, and to develop and disseminate better technology for water supply and delivery. Policy reforms must provide secure water rights vested in individuals or groups of water users to provide investment incentives, improve water use efficiency, reduce incentives to degrade the environment, and increase flexibility in resource allocation. In some countries and regions, these rights should be tradable, which will provide further incentive to conserve water. Irrigation infrastructure and management should be turned over to water user associations where well-defined water rights provide incentives for user groups to economize on water use. Governments must reform distorted price incentives and reduce or remove subsidies on water to prevent overuse or misuse of water. In estimating the value of water, the time women spend transporting it and the health benefits that accrue from drinking clean water should be evaluated. Regulatory instruments and market incentives should be introduced to conserve water and to protect land and water resources. Governments should help make appropriate water conservation technology available.
The precise nature of water policy reform will vary from country to country, depending on underlying economic conditions and institutional capability, relative water scarcity, and level of agricultural intensification. Water policy reform must also transcend national boundaries. In many regions, long-term solutions will require international cooperation between countries sharing scarce water resources.
In summary, the 2020 Vision initiative recommends that governments should
· Invest in and facilitate private-sector investments in agricultural research, infrastructure, natural resource management, and human resource development in areas with significant agricultural potential, limited rainfall, fragile soils, and widespread poverty;
· Establish and enforce clearly specified systems of rights to use and manage natural resources;
· Provide incentives to farmers and communities to restore degraded lands and protect natural resources;
· Strengthen local control over resources and improve local capacity for organization and management;
· Provide incentives to farmers and communities to implement integrated soil fertility programs in areas with low soil fertility through
· policies to assure clear, long-term property rights to land and access to credit, improved crop varieties, and information about production systems;
· effective and efficient markets for plant nutrients;
· investments in roads and rural transportation systems; and
· temporary fertilizer subsidies where prices are high due to inadequate infrastructure or poorly functioning markets;
· Promote IPM programs as the central strategy for pest management, remove pesticide subsidies, seek safe and environmentally sound techniques, and increase farmers participation in developing effective and appropriate strategies for pest management; and
· Undertake comprehensive water policy reforms to make better use of existing water supplies by providing incentives to water users, improving procedures for allocation, developing improved technology for water supply and delivery, providing secure water rights, and reforming distorted price incentives.
For the 2020 Vision to he realized, it is essential that developing countries adopt a systems view of agriculture.
The international community must develop and enforce codes and regulations to allow recovery of overexploited marine fisheries and to prevent exploitation beyond sustainable limits. International assistance agencies should provide long-term low-interest loans to support investments in low-potential areas and to support credit for integrated soil fertility and drainage programs.
Developing Efficient, Effective, and Low-Cost Agricultural Input and Output Markets
Many developing countries are privatizing their agricultural input and output markets, replacing inefficient, poorly functioning state marketing companies and excessive, inappropriate government regulations with private-sector marketing agents. It is essential that this process results in efficient, effective, and competitive markets for at least three reasons: (1) the gains from improved efficiency and reduced costs of marketing of staple foods can have a significant effect on food security through lower consumer prices and higher producer prices; (2) with the rapid urbanization expected in developing countries, efficient and effective food marketing becomes increasingly important; and (3) the rapid dietary transition projected for developing countries and international trade liberalization provide substantial opportunities in developing countries for competitive agricultural systems to expand employment in processing, packaging, and other value-added activities based on agricultural commodities. Agricultural systems will be competitive only if all components of the system, for example, input markets, production, and output markets, are efficient and effective. For the 2020 Vision to be realized, it is essential that developing countries adopt a systems view of agriculture.
To facilitate a successful transition, governments should identify their role in agricultural input and output markets and strengthen their capacity to perform this role, while disengaging from functions better performed by other agents. The role of the state is to create an environment conducive to competition among private agents in order to provide efficient and effective services to producers and consumers, while assuring access to productive resources by the poor to enable them to compete on equal terms. Policies and institutions that favor large-scale, capital-intensive market agents over small-scale, labor-intensive ones should be removed. Market infrastructure that serves the public good, such as market information, roads and other rural transportation facilities, electricity, and communications facilities, should be developed and maintained by direct public-sector investment or effective regulation of private-sector investment. Governments should develop and enforce standards, weights and measures, and regulatory instruments essential for the markets to function. The failure of governments to invest in these public goods will result in lack of competition and in fewer and larger private companies, because larger companies are more likely to be able to fill the governments role where these basic public goods are absent.
Other tasks for government include removing institutional barriers to the creation and expansion of small-scale credit and savings institutions and making them available to small traders, transporters, and processing enterprises. Such institutions have also been effective in many countries in helping the poor to face risk and to generate more income. Governments should provide technical assistance and training to create or strengthen small-scale, competitive, private-sector market arrangements. Policies and practices that increase distribution costs, such as formal and informal road tolls associated with the transportation of agricultural commodities, should be abolished except when justified to cover the costs of constructing or maintaining the facility. Where distribution costs in agricultural input and output markets in low-income developing countries are high, opportunities exist for reducing unit costs of food to consumers without reducing producer incomes.
Governments should allocate the resources necessary to develop and maintain infrastructure, especially in rural areas. They should also help revitalize local governments in rural areas and create institutions to help them develop and coordinate new infrastructure. To improve efficiency, governments should recover costs through user fees, select projects based on careful evaluation of potential demand for services, and involve private contractors in executing projects.
As international trade becomes more open and more countries join regional economic arrangements, countries that do not reduce high transactions costs will fail to be competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. Efficient and competitive markets for agricultural goods are also important for supporting developing countries efforts to expand employment and export earnings by producing and processing high-value products. Expanded agroprocessing can be an important source of additional rural and urban employment. While agroprocessing itself should be undertaken by the private sector, governments should facilitate the expansion.
Finally, effective seed multiplication and distribution systems, critical for disseminating improved seeds from agricultural research, are absent in many developing countries. While the multiplication and distribution activities may be undertaken by either the public or the private sector, the government should assure a conducive environment for the private sector to enter these activities and should develop and enforce regulations to assure quality control, competition, and access to improved seeds by small farmers.
In summary, the 2020 Vision initiative recommends that governments should:
· Phase out inefficient state-run firms in agricultural input and output markets;
· Remove policies and institutions that favor large-scale, capital-intensive market agents over small-scale, labor-intensive ones;
· Invest in or facilitate private-sector investment to develop and maintain market infrastructure of a public-goods nature;
· Facilitate development of small-scale credit and savings institutions;
· Provide technical assistance and training to create or strengthen small-scale, labor-intensive, competitive rural enterprises in trade, processing, and related marketing activities; and
· Facilitate private-sector seed multiplication and distribution through regulations to assure quality control, competition, and access to improved seeds by small-scale farmers.
The international assistance community should assist through technical advice and selective financial support of, for example, revolving funds for small-scale credit programs.
Expanding International Cooperation and Assistance and Improving Its Efficiency and Effectiveness
The 2020 Vision will be achieved only if individuals, households, communities, civil society, and local and national governments undertake the required actions. International development assistance can provide only a fraction of the financial resources that will be needed to achieve the 2020 Vision. But these resources are crucial and must be allocated in ways that complement national and local efforts. Therefore, donors of international development assistance should focus their official government-to-government assistance on countries whose governments have demonstrated commitment to eradicating poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition; to supporting an efficient, effective, and low-cost agriculture sector; and to protecting the natural resource base from degradation - goals embodied in the 2020 Vision.
The amount of international development assistance required to support the actions described here will exceed the development assistance currently available. Therefore, both donor and recipient countries must renew their efforts to assure that available international assistance is put to the best possible use. International development assistance should focus on four areas: (1) activities with large international benefits, such as international agricultural research and alleviation of global environmental problems; (2) investments in public goods with high social payoffs and long-term benefits for broad-based economic growth and poverty alleviation, such as primary education, primary health care, nutrition programs, agricultural research, sustain-able use of natural resources, and physical and institutional infrastructure; (3) programs to foster more efficient and effective use and allocation of resources shared by more than one country, such as allocation of water from a given river basin among countries bordering the basin; and (4) efforts to assure that low-income developing countries realize their fair share of the benefits from international trade liberalization.
The current downward trend in international assistance from the OECD countries must be reversed, and industrial countries currently giving below the agreed-upon target of 0.7 percent of their GNP should rapidly move toward that target. It is in the self-interest of donors to provide development assistance, not only to address important humanitarian considerations in developing countries, but also to enhance employment and trading opportunities in the donor countries. Developing countries are the largest potential market in the world, but that potential must be developed. The faster these countries grow, the more they import. By helping them to grow, development assistance creates export markets and economic growth for donor countries.
International assistance must be realigned to low-income developing countries, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where the potential for further deterioration of food security and degradation of natural resources is great. In higher-income developing countries, concessional aid such as grants should be replaced by internationally available commercial capital, freeing resources for low-income countries.
As the GATT agreements are implemented and distortions in the agriculture sectors of developed countries are reduced, the amount of food aid available for developing countries is likely to fall. Yet, the need for food aid, both for meeting humanitarian emergencies and for chronic food insecurity, is unlikely to be diminished. The international community will thus need to reassess how gaps between countries food needs and their economic ability to meet these needs are to be filled.
International emergency assistance has increased dramatically during recent years at the expense of development assistance. Future emergency assistance should be linked with development to help prevent such emergencies and to enhance the ability of households to withstand such emergencies.
It is in the self-interest of donors to provide development assistance, not only to address important humanitarian considerations in developing countries, but also to enhance employment and trading opportunities in the donor countries.
Measures to diversify sources of external financing should be pursued, together with measures to stem capital flight. To improve effectiveness of aid, each recipient country should develop a coherent, detailed, and operationally useful strategy for achieving the goals underlying the 2020 Vision, identifying the most appropriate use of international assistance. Where such a strategy already exists, it should be reviewed periodically. The role of international assistance should be clearly specified.
In summary, the 2020 Vision recommends that developing-country governments should
· Develop a national strategy for achieving the goals underlying the 2020 Vision, specifying the role of international assistance;
· Diversify sources of external financing; and
· Seek measures to stem capital flights.
International development institutions and bilateral donors should
· Focus official government-to-government assistance on countries whose governments demonstrate commitment to the goals underlying the 2020 Vision;
· Raise international assistance to reach the target of 0.7 percent of GNP;
· Realign international assistance to low-income developing countries;
· Replace concessional aid to high-income developing countries with internationally available commercial capital;
· Maintain a certain minimum amount of food to be made available as food aid in emergency situations; and
· Focus international assistance on
· activities with large international benefits,
· provision of public goods with large social payoffs,
· programs to encourage sharing of resources across boundaries, and
· efforts to ensure that developing countries realize their fair share of benefits from international trade liberalization.