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close this bookCERES No. 119 (FAO Ceres, 1987, 50 p.)
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ISSN 0009-0379

US views of aid: scepticism mixed with good will

In the past decade there have been notable changes in the economic and political role of the United States in the international community, in US relations with the Third World, and within the Third World countries themselves. Yet the question of how US public opinion has responded to, or been reflected by, these changes has not attracted much serious analysis. In an effort to fill this gap two non-governmental organizations, the Overseas Development Council in Washington, DC, and Interaction of New York, have recently published a comprehensive study which suggests that Americans in general consider international development issues and US relations with the Third World to be less important than - or even to conflict with - domestic problems and other US foreign policy objectives. The survey also found that Americans have negative perceptions of Third World governments and are sceptical about the effectiveness of aid and aid agencies. On the positive side, the study reported that "public support of US economic aid for the developing countries is firmly rooted in humanitarian concern and a sense of responsibility."

The report, entitled What Americans Think: Views on Development and US.-Third World Relations, based its findings on four distinct research elements covering legislators, politically and socially active Americans, a sample of the general public, and focused group discussions. (See box.) Among the highlights of the study:

To most Americans, developing countries and their problems seem physically and culturally remote. Eighty per cent of the "activist" group characterized themselves as "not knowing enough about Third World countries and their problems". A majority of Americans (56 per cent) believed that living conditions in the Third World have stagnated or deteriorated over the last decade. Only 32 per cent believed that conditions have improved.

Americans have strong negative perceptions of Third World governments, but not of the people of those countries. Eighty-eight per cent of the general public believed that aid is frequently misused by foreign governments. Among the activist group, 58 per cent believed that corrupt governments are a very serious problem in Third World countries. Only 18 per cent considered "people who do not work hard enough" to be a serious problem in developing countries.

Despite current pressures on the US budget, a majority of Americans - 54 per cent - favoured US economic assistance to other countries, a level of support that has remained remarkably steady for nearly 40 years. Seventy-eight per cent of the general public agreed that as a leading nation in the world, the United States should set an example by helping poor nations. Nearly 90 per cent agreed with the statement that "wherever people are hungry or poor we ought to do what we can to help them." And 75 per cent of Americans believed that helping the Third World will also benefit the United States in the long run. Americans consider economic assistance a legitimate tool to use in pursuing US political or strategic objectives, but are concerned that such objectives are not always achieved.

The major reasons given by Americans for favouring economic assistance reflect a humanitarian desire to help other people. Relief for victims of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and drought were given high priority by 74 per cent of the general public sample, but long term development programmes perceived to deliver assistance most directly to needy people - programmes such as health care, education of family planning, assistance to farmers, and US voluntary programmes were also given high priority by a majority of respondents.

Strong support for agricultural assistance, the cornerstone of long term development efforts throughout much of the Third World, was high lighted by the fact that 87 per cent of the general public agreed that "we should help farmers in other countries learn to grow their own food, even if it means they buy less food from the United States." This response seems to indicate that Americans are willing to give domestic interests lower priority if the needs of the Third World are clearly perceived to be greater.

Yet even while they support assistance efforts, most Americans doubt the effectiveness of aid. Among general public respondents, 85 per cent believed that a large part of aid is wasted by the US bureaucracy. Of those who had made contributions during the past 12 months to private agencies working overseas, about three out of four has "just some" or "little" confidence that money given to such organizations reaches the needy. Among the activist group 94 per cent believed that much foreign aid never reaches the people who need it.

Beyond this general pessimism as to how aid is used, considerable opposition to economic assistance is rooted in domestic self-interest. Two thirds of the general public and nearly three quarters of the activists cited domestic poverty, the US budget deficit, or general US problems as reasons for opposing aid. Two out of three Americans strongly agreed with the statement that "we need to solve our own poverty problems before we turn our attention to other countries." Four out of five activists believed that the United States should take care of its own financial problems before helping debt-burdened developing countries.

For the international development community, the study's findings may represent a rather confused picture of positive and negative attitudes. On the positive side are evidence of widespread feelings of humanitarian concern, a sense of responsibility toward other countries, and generally steady support for the concept of US economic assistance. Counteracting this are signs that the general public remains poorly informed on foreign policy issues, is unaware how the US aid efforts compare with those of other developed countries, and believes that much aid is wasted or ineffective.

Frances Vieta

India, China seek improved efficiency in biogas schemes

One of the salutary results of increased oil prices during the 1970s was a greater interest in nonconventional sources of energy. India and China, both pioneers in production of biomass energy, have accelerated diffusion of biogas digesters in their rural areas to relieve the crisis in cooking energy. In both countries biogas is regarded as a means of ensuring soil renewal, environmental protection, and hygienic cooking.

With a warmer, more stable climate and easy availability of cow dung, India is in a more advantageous position than China for popularizing biogas. However, as a result of different socio-economic systems and approaches to programme administration, China has about 7 million biogas plants covering about 5 per cent of its rural population, while India's 600 000 biogas plants serve less than 2.5 per cent of its total rural population. But India has begun giving impetus to its biogas diffusion programme. According to Vasanth Sathe, India's Energy Minister, over 85 per cent of the Indian biogas plants set up under the National Programme for Biogas Development (NPBD) launched in 1980 are in use, while only about 4.5 million of China's 7 million biogas plants are in a functional state at any given time. Reasons cited by Sathe for the "large-scale failure and disuse of the Chinese biogas plants" were leakage and corrosion, massive temperature fluctuations, lack of a well-oiled machinery to monitor and repair biogas plants, and the latest government policy of promoting high technology ventures in preference to alternative technology systems, such as biogas and bullock carts. Observers speculate that the Chinese biogas programme has been stagnating since 1980.

Chinese biogas plants are much less expensive than their Indian counterparts. A cost-benefit analysis of China's biogas programme shows that for an individual household the investment cost of a family-sized biogas plant is recoverable within a year's time. On the other hand, the Indian biogas digester originally designed and promoted by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) costs around US$650, a sum that only rich farmers owning at least five head of cattle can afford. Moreover, the benefits of biogas technology are indirect, since biogas plants do not bring in cash income. As a result, even with large and generous government subsidies and liberal bank loans, the investment cost is not recoverable in less than four or five years. Chinese biogas digesters of "fixed dome design" are simple to operate and cost the equivalent of $25, or about 15 days' earnings for the average Chinese peasant family.

At present, much of the dung produced by about 260 million head of cattle in India is made into patties and burnt away as wasteful cooking fuel. Assuming an average production of 10 kg of dung per animal per day and a collection rate of 60 per cent, the

amount of dung available in the country in a year works out to 575 million tons, which could generate a staggering 300 million tons of humusrich manure. As it is, 30 million m3 of biogas equals 20 million tons of kerosene oil, nearly three times the annual consumption of the commodity in the country. According to an estimate by the Indian Planning Commission, given the prevailing land distribution and cattle ownership pattern in the country, there is scope for installing as many as 15 million biogas plants.

China has the advantage over India in feedstock for biogas. The Chinese depend mainly on pig and human excreta to feed their biogas plants. Since pig rearing is one of China's most common household economic activities, 70 per cent of the 250 million pigs in China are privately reared. Most rural Chinese households are potential customers for biogas. India, on the other hand, emphasizes cow dung as the feedstock for biogas generation.

In contrast to the egalitarian Chinese approach to the diffusion of biogas to the rural masses, biogas technology in India has failed to reach the rural poor. For biogas technology to be viable, the minimum requirement is four to five head of cattle, but in India only 22 per cent of the 85 million rural household possess five or more head. This makes the administration of dung collection and gas distribution extremely difficult As Professor T. K. Moulik of the Indian Institute of Management, who recently visited China to study the biogas programme there, notes, "Broadly, India's biogas technology development programme can be characterized as te, in both the initiative and participation, while the Chinese process has been largely egalitarian."

Another area of striking difference between India and China is that, in contrast to Chinese farmers, Indian peasants have yet to grasp fully the potential of biogas plants to produce humus-rich fertilizer. Indian planning experts feel that the biogas technology in India is unlikely to make headway unless the rich farmers in India are convinced that the humus-rich manure produced in biogas plants is good for crops and soil.

Though KVIC has been busy popularizing biogas digesters in India since 1950, by the late 1970s there were not more than 100 000 biogas plants in the country. Those who initiated the development of biogas technology in India were concerned more with technological efficiency than with the cost element, construction methodology, or social acceptability. The floating gas holder type of digester promoted by KVIC, though technologically viable, was rejected by India's rural masses because of its cost - $650.

Another important difference is that India's floating dome biogas plant requires about 27 m2 of land for the plant and slurry pit. In most Indian villages, dwellings are so close together that it is rare to find a house-hold with sufficient land for a plant. On the other hand, in Chinese villages, space required for biogas plants have not posed a serious problem.

While in India the biogas programme was imposed from above without active and meaningful participation of the users, the initiative for the Chinese biogas programme came first from the peasants of Sichuan province. The official Chinese policy on biogas encourages initiative and people's participation at all levels. Thanks to this decentralized strategy, biogas diffusion in China has become a people's movement. The strategy has led to the evolution of inexpensive, locally adaptable technology of fixed dome water pressure bioqas digesters. But the stranglehold of centralization and professionalization has been so strong on the Indian biogas programme that not only has the people's participation in me programme been minimal but also research and development efforts have remained confined to laboratories.

The Indian biogas programme has been making rapid strides since NPBD was launched in 1980. During 1984 85 against the target of 150 000 plants, NPBD was able to set up 180 000 units, thus demonstrating the slow but sure acceptance of biogas by Indian villagers. Quoting several independent surveys, official sources say that the failure rate of Indian biogas plants has now dropped to 15 per cent from 40 per cent in the early 1980s.

Taking into account the socioeconomic realities in the rural areas, India has been vigorously developing and promoting a variety of low-cost but technologically efficient models. This multi-model approach seems to be yielding dividends if the latest figures on the spread of biogas plants in India is any indication.

In the final analysis, both the Indian and Chinese biogas plants seem to be moving toward me same goal - large-scale popularization of bio-energy through decentralized, egalitarian strategy and introduction of inexpensive but technologically efficient digesters.

Radhakrishna Rao

Poorest are hurt by Sri Lanka's food stamp scheme

At one time or another governments of many developing countries have faced the need to make food available to low-income groups at less than market prices or even production costs. One of the most common measures adopted for this purpose has been the introduction of price subsidies on a range of staple foods.

But while food subsidies may be regarded as one of the few feasible ways of making income transfers for the benefit of the poor, the financing of such programmes can place a heavy burden on national budgets. In both Tanzania and Zambia, for example, costs of subsidizing food to consumers has far exceeded the budgets of the ministries of agriculture.

In recent years as the economic crisis has squeezed national budgets a number of developing countries have tried to curtail or eliminate food subsidy programmes. One notable example has been Sri Lanka, where, in 1979, a 44-year-old general price subsidy programme was swept aside and replaced with a direct income transfer scheme, which used food stamps. Considering that earlier attempts to cut back on the general subsidy scheme had lad to massive protests by labour unions and even to rioting, the Sri Lankan decision, part of a general package of reforms intended to liberalize the economy, and to give the market a larger role in determining prices and the allocation of resources, could only be regarded as politically courageous. And considering that the new scheme reduced the cost of food subsidies in Sri Lanka from 17.1 to 9.1 per cent of overall government expenditures, the political gamble would appear to have paid off.

However, a research report recently published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has found that the well-intended income transfer scheme has resulted in a deterioration of the nutritional welfare of households in the lowest segment of income distribution and has not been able to protect them against the effects of inflation. When the new food stamp scheme was introduced in 1979, the average recipient household received only 83 per cent of the benefits previously enjoyed under the food subsidy scheme. Subsequently inflation in food prices further reduced the real value of food stamps to 43 per cent of the previous benefits. The value of food subsidies in 1978 represented nearly 18 per cent of the average household budget, compared with only 9.7 per cent for the food stamps in 1981-82. And although the per caput calorie consumption in three out of four households remained the same or increased during this period, a reflection of the effects of overall economic growth on average household income, calorie consumption in the poorest 20 per cent of households declined about 8 per cent per caput from an already low 1 490 calories to 1 368 calories. Clearly, the new food stamp scheme was not effective in helping the most vulnerable households.

Among the difficulties encountered in introducing the new scheme was that of carrying out a valid means of identifying the low-income groups. To be eligible for food stamps, household income had to be less than Rs 3 600 per year with marginal adjustments for larger families. However, the IFPRI study found that while the food stamp scheme was restricted to only about half of all households, compared with the near universal coverage of the food subsidy scheme, not all of these households were in the lower half of the income range. The poorest 20 per cent - the quintile that would form the target group if income were the real criterion - received only 38 per cent of the total food stamp outlay. "Leakages to beneficiaries in higher quintiles," the study noted, "have raised the cost to government to two and one half times the actual costs incurred by households in the lowest quintile."

The IFPRI study suggests that a nutritional goal, such as ensuring the consumption of a given amount of energy would be a more satisfactory way of measuring the effectiveness of an income transfer programme than simply seeking the enhancement of the general welfare of more disadvantaged sectors of the population. The study estimates that if all of the Rs 1.7 billion spent on food stamps in 1982 had been transferred only to households in the bottom quintile, their per caput calorie consumption could have been increased to about 1 540 calories, or about 70 per cent of the recommended allowance. To ensure consumption of the recommended allowances, 220 calories per caput per day, would require a fourfold increase in the food stamp programme funding.

Peter Hendry

New African accord brings benefits to landlocked states

New potential has just been given to the Northern Corridor Transit Agreement (NCTA), thanks to which three landlocked low-income countries of East Africa - Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi - will gain access to the Port of Mombasa, Kenya, through a 2 000 km corridor linking the heart of Africa with the Indian Ocean.

Signed in Bujumbura, Burundi, on 19 February 1985 and ratified in November 1986, the Agreement did not become effective immediately: a number of problems, not least logistic difficulties, could not be completely resolved owing to both the lack of funds and the absence of an appropriate regional organization, namely the Permanent Secretariat originally envisaged in the Agreement and now soon to be set up in Nairobi.

The Coordination Authority, composed of the transport ministers of the signatory countries, has examined the priority investment proposal for the "northern corridor" and approved the transport improvement projects to be submitted to the Directorate-General for Development of the EEC.

NCTA, which is the outcome of five years of negotiations, is part of a UNDP-UNCTAD technical assistance programme for developing landlocked countries of Africa. It includes projects for the following nine protocols: harbour and maritime facilities, route and transit facilities, customs control, documentation and procedures, freight transport by rail, freight transport by road, handling of dangerous goods, facilities for forwarding agencies and their employees, and compulsory third-party insurance for motorists.

East Africa is the poorest region of the African continent, and its lack of mineral resources - unlike the southern African regions - means that nearly half its GDP comes from the agricultural sector. Uganda is particularly dependent on agriculture (82%); Burundi is too, but to a much lesser degree (56%). Foreign currency revenues in these countries come almost exclusively from agricultural exports: coffee accounts for 90 per cent of the total export value (see Table), the other major exports being tea and cotton fibre.

The improvement of transport facilities via the "northern corridor" is vital for the landlocked countries. The situation of Uganda is especially delicate: 95 per cent of its trade passes through the "corridor", against 80 per cent for Rwanda and 60 per cent for Burundi.

Uganda's coffee exports increased only slightly from 1983 to 1985: in 1984, they dropped by 8 per cent to 133 200 metric tons against 144 274 tons in 1983, and in 1985 they barely exceeded the 1983 level, reaching only 152 300 tons. Rwanda exported 34 259 tons of coffee in 1985, compared with 31 554 tons in 1984 (+8.5 per cent). Burundi, some of whose exports are transported through the port of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), exported 33 918 tons of coffee in 1985 against 29 000 tons in 1984 (+16.9 per cent).

Between 1970 and 1982 the picture was even gloomier for the landlocked countries of East Africa: Rwanda's total exports increased at a rate of only 2.4 per cent a year while imports grew by 11.5 per cent a year. During the same period Uganda's total exports and imports dropped by 9.2 per cent and 7.9 per cent a year respectively.

The Northern Corridor Transit Agreement is assumed to be capable of overcoming the numerous obstacles that hinder communication in the subregion. The main problems are caused by: the variety of languages used by the different governments in their foreign trade relations; the lack of transport infrastructures and insufficient or outdated transport equipment; high customs and other duties; the complicated paper work required for authorization to cross state boundaries and the incompetence of some customs officers.

Today, freight transport via the "northern corridor" is carried out mainly by truck, as the railways are on me whole unsatisfactory and lake transport is only just getting under way. Thanks to NCTA measures reducing the obstacles to transport development, and with the improvement of Kenya's road network, it now takes 11 days to travel by road from Mombasa to Uganda, 17 days from Mombasa to Rwanda, and 22 days from Mombasa to Burundi. Before these measures were implemented those trips took 13, 24, and 30 days respectively.

It is estimated that about 500 000 deadweight tons are transported via the "northern corridor". In 1985, however, the volume of goods passing through the port of Mombasa dropped by 20 per cent with respect to 1984 (to 381 000 tons from 478 000 tons). This can be explained mainly by me fact that there was a 43 per cent decline in imports to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Zaire. The sharpest drop is recorded for products exported to Rwanda and Uganda. An acute economic crisis continues to prevail in Uganda, as may be seen by the recent devaluation of its currency imposed by the International Monetary Fund.

In Kenya, the road transport system has developed more than the rail system, as demonstrated by the fact that in 1984, road transport receipts amounted to $12.4 million against $3.9 million for rail transport, according to the 1986 Annual Statistics Bulletin for Kenya. In 1985, the gap widened to $14.3 million for road transport and $3.7 million for rail transport, i.e., almost four times for road transport.

A Kenyan source explains that "users prefer road transport because the same truck makes the trip from start to finish, whereas train freight must be transferred at the Tororo-Malaba frontier post, between Kenya and Uganda." Furthermore, trucks have to pass through Uganda to reach Rwanda and Burundi from Kenya and vice versa.

All things considered, recent highlevel talks in Kigali, the fact that Zaire has joined the "northern corridor", and me creation of a free-trade zone at Eldoret are all tangible signs of the region's awareness of the need for closer collaboration aimed at relaunching traffic along a "corridor" that one African diplomat called a "lifeline" for the region's landlocked countries.

Pierre Antonios

India develops integrated system for village energy

Not long ago, Khandia, in the Indian state of Gujarat, was typical of many underdeveloped villages. Inhabited by about 130 farming families, it had no motorable approach road and had been bypassed by the state electric grid. Far from the centres of development and lacking irrigation facilities, its fragile farming economy depended on the whims of the weather. Villagers eked out a sort of living from whatever their impoverished wheat and rice fields yielded, in brief, Khandia epitomized the problems facing some 270 000 villages in India, to which it would be extremely difficult and prohibitively costly to provide electricity from the national grid.

Few urban-oriented energy strategists have given much thought to the peculiar energy needs of rural communities or to the evidence mat no single energy system is likely ever to meet the diverse requirements of villages. The concept of integrated rural energy systems seeking an optimum mix derived from sources like biomass, wind, and sun to meet the varied needs of rural communities is only now going through the process of experimentation in many parts of the Third World. Unfortunately, many village-based rural energy schemes that have been launched with great fanfare have fizzled out in the end due to a lack of interest on the part of villagers and of efficiently run institutions to monitor the functioning of the system.

Against this backdrop, Khandia's achievement in ending its long energy crisis by making use of local resources in an integrated manner stands out as an encouraging example. Thanks to the introduction of integrated energy techology, Khandia today is witnessing many perceptible socio-economic changes. A supply of piped gas for cocking has ended, for women, the daily drudgery of collecting firewood. The introduction of biogas stoves has eliminated health hazards associated with wood fires. Khandia's women have more leisure time than ever before. Irrigation, made possible by power from biomass gasifiers, has contributed to the expansion of agricultural activities with the result that young men, many of whom used to be obliged to leave the village to seek work elsewhere, are now able to find worthwhile jobs in their own village.

The villagers of Khandia made their initial approach to the Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA), a state organization committed to all forms of energy conservation and development, to ask for help in devising an integrated energy system based on local resources. In mid-1984, at the suggestion of GEDA, 130 village families formed an energy society to generate energy from renewable resources and to share it equitably. Simultaneously, GEDA sponsored a survey of the energy needs of the village.

The survey revealed that 85 per cent of Khandia's energy requirement is accounted for by cooking. Village women used to spend much of their time collecting firewood for this purpose. The survey also showed that

Khandia receives adequate sunshine through most of the year. Its other resources were plenty of wasteland and cattle. The wasteland could provide space for raising plantations to feed the gasifiers while cattle could provide dung for the biogas operation. Based on these findings, a combination of energy devices were installed at Khandia, signalling the beginning of integrated rural energy planning.

The system in Khandia comprises a gasifier able to generate 25 kW of power for running street lights, pumpsets, and flour mills and four 4.5 kW biomass gasifiers for running water-lifting devices. The gasifiers are fueled from a 12-hectare plantation of tamarind, neem, and eucalyptus trees. There is also a biogas plant capable of yielding 85 cubic metres of gas per day. The village energy cooperatives buys dung at 10 paise per bucket and the resultant gas is supplied to 55 households. The only drawback is that the gas is supplied for only a few hours each day. The slurry left as a by-product of the biogas operation is shared among the villagers.

In addition to these devices, GEDA has also installed a solar hot water system, three solar stills, and a photovoltaic-powered refrigerator at the village primary health centre. Television and radio for community viewing and listening also run on a photovoltaic system.

The most important feature of Khandia's energy programme is the careful balancing of the village's energy needs with the availability of local resources. It would, for example, make little sense to introduce windgenerated devices since wind speeds are very low in this area. Similarly, large-scale introduction of solar cookers is not feasible, since most cooking is done after sunset.

The total investment for the various energy devices in Khandia has been estimated at Rs 1.5 million, as against a cost of Rs 1.8 million if conventional power sources had been used. GEDA's Executive Director, Dr K. S. Rao, says that the cost per caput for the project was only Rs 1 875, while Rs 2 262 would be required for electricity alone using conventional means. Like all institutional or community-based non-conventional energy projects in India, the Khandia programme has benefited from state subsidies. GEDA also assumed responsibility for installation of the system and for assuring its proper functioning. However, the village energy society takes care of day-today operations.

Encouraged by the success of the Khandia project, GEDA has now launched similar projects in five more Gujarat villages. "Khandia was an ideal village to experiment with noncommercial sources of energy," says Dr Nanubhai Amin, Chairman of GEDA. "we wanted a village with as many hostile conditions as one can think of so that future models would be adapted easily to any such village. Khandia is a case study to examine centralized versus decentralized systems wherein production and utilization of energy based on locally available renewable resources of energy are in the hands of the village community. I am convinced that a thousand such Khandias can be created throughout the country."

Radhakrishna Rao

Hybrid varieties boost yields in Chinese cotton

New varieties of cotton developed in east China's Shandong province are producing results comparable to the increases in harvests of wheat, rice, and maize produced by the green revolution.

In just seven years the new varieties have trebled Shandong's per hectare yield, and last year, as farmers extended acreage, total cotton output reached 942 500 tons, or 5.6 times that of 1979. Shandong has been propelled to the position of China's largest cotton producer and exporter and accounts for about one fourth of the nation's annual output Prosperous peasants are now able to invest more in chemical fertilizer and in grain and sideline production, and an all-round growth of the rural economy is occurring as a result.

Four prefectures in western Shandong reflect the economic power of the "cotton revolution". They were designated by the state as among the ten poorest areas in China at the end of the 1970s, with large numbers of peasants depending on government relief and grain supplies. But in 1986, the four prefectures together, with a population of 22 million, sold 540 000 tons of surplus grain to the government. Between 1978 and 1986, in Linqing county in northwestern Shandong, per caput income rose from 42.3 yuan renmimbi to 441. "Cotton has brought us big fortunes," farmers say.

Shandong province, located at the lower reaches of the Yellow River, has a warm, temperate climate. With deep and fertile soil and moderate rainfall, the vast alluvial plain is ideally suited for growing cotton, but from 1949 to 1979, output was low and unstable. Per-hactare cotton yield averaged only 258 kg annually. Year after year, cotton production met only half the demand of the province's textile industry. For more than a century, Shandong grew cotton varieties known as Trice, Stoneville, and Deltapine-15, which had been introduced from the United States, and from them, the province bred new varieties, but no good strain suited to local conditions emerged. Finally, Qin Hezhen, a leading provincial official in charge of agriculture, asked, "Why can't we have varieties of our own?" His question took 15 years to answer.

Progress was slow at first. Early in 1961, the provincial Cotton Research Institute had abandoned the practice of developing better varieties through selection in favour of cross-breeding, but their 10-year efforts with hybrids still did not produce remarkable results. Then in 1971, Pang Juqin, in charge of the experiment, learned that radiation could vary the inner genes of seeds. He sent a researcher at once to the Atomic Energy Research Office in the provincial Academy of Agriculture Science, where the seeds were treated with Cobalt 60.

A year later, the first seedlings to appear amazed scientists. "Many of them were abnormal," Pang Juqin recalled. Some had incomplete "limbs," some several "heads", and some no heads at ail. "But the deformed seedlings didn't make us feel dejected," said Pang, now the vice director of the China Cotton Research Centre. The scientist discarded the abnormal strains and continued to experiment with normal ones. Three years of experiments produced better plants. Then came regional experiments that showed one new strain produced higher yields than any other strain or variety.

The strain, named SC-1 by the institute in 1976, soon began to replace foreign varieties. Four years later, in 1980, it had become the variety of choice and spread to 573 000 hectares, accounting for 77 per cent of the area sown to cotton in the province. Early that year, scientists at the provincial Cotton Research Institute wrote, and rushprinted, a 45 000 -word booklet on methods of cultivating the new strain. Some 150 000 copies of the booklet were distributed to farmers before the cotton planting season, and that year the province produced 537 000 tons of cotton, almost double the record 270 000 tons in 1973. The average per-hectare yield reached 727 kg (in terms of ginned cotton), 2.3 times that of the previous year. It has been calculated that the adoption of the new variety in China had produced a direct economic result of 5.7 billion yuan renmimbi (about US$1.54 billion) by 1984.

Then followed SC-2, SC-3, SC-4, SC-5, and SC-6, bred by scientists from the same institute, Jinan's Shandong Agricultural University and Huimin's Agriculture Research institute. All produced yields equalling or surpassing SC-1. Moreover, the fibre strength of SC-1 did not meet export quality standards, and as a result it has been replaced by SC-6, which yields 13.5 per cent more than SC-1. By 1986, the sown areas of SC-6 in Shandong extended 705 000 hectares, 70 per cent of the total cotton acreage. SC-6 became a standard variety; that means that a new strain can be confirmed as excellent only if its quality compares favourably with SC-6.

In the last two years, many buyers have come to Shandong from Canada, Japan, the USSR, Europe, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. The province exported 140 000 tons of cotton in 1986-one-fourth of China's total cotton exports. Contracts for exporting 210 000 tons of cotton have already been signed by the province this year.

However, SC-6, like SC-1, still has its weak points: small seeds and poor disease resistance, agronomists say. However, some promising new strains are being tested. Early this year, China set up its first cotton research centre in Shandong with 2 million yuan renminbi (about $540 000) invested by the province and $693 000 contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The centre will carry out research, sponsor academic exchanges between scientists of China and other countries, train technical personnel, and offer consulting services. It brightens prospects for further development of cotton production and the promotion of the textile industry in Shandong province as well as elsewhere in China, which has become the world's leading cotton producer since 1982 (see table).

Zhu Wenzhi and Hou Dan

Urban agriculture offers new elements in Argentine diets

According to statistics, the Argentinians are a well-fed people. But averages, of course, are based on highs and lows. In the almost 4 000 km2 of the urban conglomeration of Greater Buenos Aires, some 2 million of the zone's 10 million inhabitants received food assistance from the Programa Alimentario Nacional (National Food Programme), which the constitutional government was obliged to set up. Clearly it is not enough that there exists a food surplus, that the infrastructure is good, that the urban markets are well supplied. The poor still lack the resources to feed themselves adequately. But even an income theoretically sufficient for adequate food is no guarantee that the poor will get enough to eat, since they often have to spend their income on other needs.

Argentina, like other Third World countries, is going through an economic crisis and a profound transformation with serious repercussions on the urban way of life, which is to say, on the lives of the majority of the population. Public indebtedness weakens the State and impedes social action; unemployment has become a structural problem and technological change is making it even worse; real salaries and opportunities decline just when social security and all the indirect salaries instituted previously by the Welfare State are threatened. Argentina, once destined by great men to be "breadbasket of the world", in this decade is seeing the return of the soup kitchens that fed the poor during the 1930s depression.

A study on urban agriculture in Greater Buenos Aires finds that Latin America, unlike Europe and the English-speaking countries, has scant experience with urban gardens. Recently urban agriculture has received new attention, since it requires less expenditure of energy in transport and preservation, offers at least partial employment to the unemployed, and permits greater use of natural and urban spaces, but urban gardens for self-sufficiency are still not widespread. According to the project, a garden can provide between 10 and 30 per cent of a nutritionally satisfactory diet and in the two lower-income groups (the indigent and the poor), it could contribute 5 to 20 per cent of a family's total income. The construction of an urban garden does not require great resources: just 50 square metres intensely cultivated, and worked only a day and a half a week, can supply fruit and vegetables to a family of five. Cash outlay is minimal as household refuse can be recycled and used.

Greater Buenos Aires contains much vacant land, of which most is private property but some is public (such as the land along railroad tracks), which could be used to grow fruit and vegetables. But in general the gardens are "back yard", since the typical single-family house usually occupies only a third of its plot (usually 25 or 30 metres deep by 10 in front).

Before the garden is put in, the soil must be fertilized. This means the gardener must travel to where good earth and manure can be obtained, possibly with a small truck. Then compost must be made with organic residues; the earth and bed must be prepared, and the garden must be enclosed with a fence of one sort or another. Advice on seed selection, sowing calendar, selection and combination of species for pest control, the setting up of a nursery for seedlings will be needed as will water for irrigation, of course, and an initial investment of time and labour. And finally, a pitchfork, a shovel, a hoe, and a spade in other words, gardening tools - will be needed.

Each bed, correctly prepared, can contain four to five rows of 5 metres each; four to eight beds, or between 80 and 200 linear metres, can be cultivated at a time. According to the Instituto Nacional de TecnologAgraria, 30 linear metres can produce a harvest of 37.5 kg of Swiss chard, 50 kg of aubergines, 25 kg of lettuce, 75 kg of beetroot, 50 kg of onions, tomatoes, or carrots, and 75 kg of cabbage - more than enough to feed a family of five.

Of course, every harvest will produce much more than the family can consume. Thus agreements with neighbours will have to be made, or techniques of food preservation will have to be learned, with the help of advisors, who will also make suggestions regarding which crops to plant together and when to plant in order to stagger harvest times of each crop.

Gardens for home consumption have great advantages over programmes of direct assistance or subsidies for the most popular foods. In production for family consumption, the project is in the hands of the direct beneficiary, who will, in the medium term, achieve his independence in nutrition. Moreover, a programme of gardens of this type will increase production of food and the use of local resources, mobilizing families, and this, of course, does not happen when families are passive recipients of subsidies.

But the gardens are not an immediate solution to poverty nor do they provide free food. Moreover, they can fail when they are not cared for properly or when natural disasters strike, such as the periodic floods that strike the low-lying areas of the outskirts of Buenos Aires, where the poor families live. And reconstruction of a destroyed garden takes four months, during which the family must resume work without producing food. And while any family will accept official food assistance, not every family has time or is willing to start and tend a garden.

Kitchen gardens do not hold the solution to the problem of feeding the poor of the cities. Diffusion of the idea has, under present conditions, been slow and laborious. Many Latin Americans who start a garden abandon it, either because they migrate or because it fails, often for reasons related to the willingness of the grower.

There exists, too, the cultural problem: it is not the poorest (who have abandoned all hope of improving their lot on their own) or the workers (or unemployed workers) who accept the idea of a garden. The young prefer to seek work, even temporary, outside the home before agreeing to work the land. The middle classes do not know how to cultivate, and they disparage work on the land (with the exception of the growing of flowers). The typical Argentine diet (meat, milk products, wheat products) gives scant attention to vegetables and requires cash expenditure to procure them, instead of cultivating fruits and vegetables for family consumption. Often, too, the land belonging to a house is set aside for the home of the eldest son when he marries. But it is possible, in any case, to promote - in the press and with radio and television programmes and with coordinated action on the part of local authorities - a kitchen garden project that relies on uncultivated land and seeds from the Government and the use of much private vacant land, perhaps with reductions of taxes as incentives to the growing of community gardens.

It is equally conceivable to organize, either privately or through the municipal collection of organic residues, a special programme directed at school lunchrooms, factory canteens, and restaurants in order to make high-quality compost to supply to growers at low cost. Assistance, direct and indirect, and the selection of seeds require special attention by the local government or specialized institutions in collaboration with the groups committed to the diffusion of urban horticulture, especially at first, since afterwards neighbours can organize themselves to teach others what they have learned.

Managua, Sao Paulo, Lajes (RGrande do Norte, Brazil), Panama City, and other Latin American cities have undertaken urban agriculture schemes, and the municipalities have donated public land for horticulture. The experience of Buenos Aires is not unique, but proves that it is possible to introduce in Latin America a type of agriculture popular in other parts of the world. Most important, it demonstrates that it is socially expedient to assist the poor to become producers, and at the same time defend the urban environment as well as its income and quality of life.

Guillermo Almeyra

FAO in action


Impressive changes in livestock production in Pakistan, especially in feeding and nutrition practices, have been achieved during the past six years with technical assistance provided by FAO/UNDP. A highlight of the work has been the development of new rural and industrial technologies for using crop residues and other agro-industrial wastes as animal fodder. In the Northwest Frontier Province, some 200 000 tons of sugar-beet pulp, formerly discarded as a nuisance, is now being fully utilized by smallholders to feed their dairy animals. In monetary terms, this recovery is estimated to be worth Rs 20 million annually. More important, its socio-economic contribution is considered to be much greater. Other significant savings have been obtained through the development of a milk replacer for weaning buffalo calves. Tests with some 7 000 buffalo calves during the past two years have indicated weaning cost savings of 50 per cent, while mortality rates among calves were reduced from 50 to 10 per cent. The average body weights of yearling calves more than doubled, and heifers conceived at between 18 and 24 months of age, substantially sooner than the four years of age expected under the traditional feeding systems. Other activities initiated by the project have included the setting up of integrated dairy and poultry farms, development of package technology for new feeding systems, establishment of commercial straw-processing plants and processing plants for conversion of sugar-cane by-products, and the utilization of slaughterhouse wastes for animal protein recovery.


The fourth and final link in a worldwide communication network providing marketing information, trade promotion, and technical advice to the fishing industry has been forged with the establishment of INFOSAMAK, a Bahrain-based Arabic-language service for importers and exporters of fish in the Arab world. Supported by an FAO/UNDP project launched in March, 1986, INFOSAMAK is already being used by some 500 firms or individuals in the region as a dependable and up-to-date source of information on markets, prices, and technology. Its modern communication system is capable of putting a fish-exporting firm in Morocco in touch with a potential importer in Kuwait in a matter of minutes. Thirteen of 21 member states in the Arab League are already participating. The Bahrain project parallels three earlier similar regional services: INFOPESCA, established in Panama in 1977 for Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America; INFOFISH, launched in 1981 for Asia and the Pacific; and INFOPECHE, started two years ago for African countries. All four projects are closely linked to GLOBEFISH, the Rome-based data bank and electronic library operated by FAO's Fisheries Department.


Against a background of considerable frustration and disappointment experienced in similar undertakings, an FAO/UNDP project is confronting the challenging task of increased livestock production and improving the quality of life in the pastoral communities of North Africa and the Near East. This three-year regional project, funded at $2.7 million, involves six countries (Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia) with a regional coordinating team based in Tunis. "Given the amount of knowledge provided by past experience and the level of awareness of the governments concerned," remarks a project official, "the time has come to stop the process of desert encroachment and to take full advantage of the untapped rangeland potential in arid regions." The project aims to avoid what has now come to be regarded as one of the major reasons for unsatisfactory performance in previous rangeland management projects - lack of participation of the communities involved. This time, pastoral communities are being encouraged to organize either by strengthening existing local organizations or by creating new ones. The national steering committees that have been designated as the key institutions in achieving the project's goals include representatives of pastoral communities as well as of all government institutions involved. Strategies for planning and training within the project are based on participative, practical, "learn-by-doing" programmes that will focus on teams rather than on individuals. Formal lectures are kept to a minimum, with the emphasis on small groups for discussion, problem-solving, and decision- making. Expatriate consultants are called in only when needed technical skills and experience are not already available in the project areas. Thus far, four regional action planning workshops have been conducted to establish the project's objectives, strategies, and work plan. In each country a pilot area of from 20 000 to 100 000 hectares has been selected for study under the project guidelines.


Field experts, scientists, and research or documentation centres seeking agronomic data concerning promising varieties of horticultural crops can now avail themselves of a crop performance information system established by FAO's Horticultural Crops Group. The new system covers fruits, vegetables, and roots and tubers and employs a retrieval method which can extract selected data according to either geographical area (by latitude, longitude, and altitude) or name of crop or cultivar. The data base includes both permanent material and seasonal data on crop performance.


On densely populated Ndzwani Island in the Comoros, local farmers, most of them women, are being helped to develop new techniques to control soil and water erosion on the steep slopes they cultivate. The activities are part of a $10.5 million integrated rural development project funded by the African Development Bank and being carried out by FAO. The project has been introducing within a complex land tenure system more rational use of lands based on their suitability for various crops and is adapting farming systems for these purposes. Among the practices promoted are terracing and gully plugging, the use of legumes and cover crops, and the planting of fruit, fodder, and firewood trees. Also included in the project is a seed multiplication scheme to encourage introduction of improved varieties of maize, bananas, groundnuts, mung beans, yams, and pigeon peas. Some 40 extension officers, including a number of women, have been assigned to the 210 km2 area, where the population density is about 350 persons per km2.


Small-scale and commercial farmers in Zambia are obtaining yield increases of as much as 30 per cent in their maize crops as the result of the introduction of a number of new varieties resistant to maize streak virus, which has traditionally been a serious problem for maize growers. The new varieties - three hybrids and one open-pollinated - were developed as part of a $800 000 four-year FAO project, funded by NORAD, to conduct research on pest and disease problems and to develop control measures, mostly through host plant resistance.


Rapid growth in the international market for seaweed and seaweed products has recently begun to provide an alternative source of livelihood for fishermen in the South China Sea region, but the volatility of seaweed prices and a lack of reliable market data have made it an unpredictable, if not risky, enterprise. A recent study conducted under FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme has concluded that until much more research is undertaken into the variability of yields and profits among seaweed farms - and within individual farms from year to year - the future role for small farms in this subsector will remain a matter of conjecture. Seaweed culture in the South China Sea region is a relatively recent development, reflecting the over exploitation of wild stocks resulting from increased world demand for products derived from seaweed. China, the world's leading producer accounting for about 40 per cent of global production, consumes most of its own output. The development in the South China Sea region has been largely based on the efforts of small farms of a hectare or less, usually family run. Although many such operations produce less per hectare than the potential indicated by experimental or commercial farms, it appears that quite high rates of return, relative to other alternatives, can be earned from seaweed farming. One calculation indicated a 24 per cent return on sales and a 35 per cent return on investment. However, seaweed prices have not kept pace with rising costs.

Confronting environmental degradation: a problem without borders

by Fernando Ortiz Monasterio

Nature does not recognize national borders and political ideologies. Capitalism and socialism do not exist for ecosystems, and there are no such things as development and underdevelopment. All there is, is the effect on the environment of these things.

Pressures on the environment have increased gradually, in relation to the predominant style of development adopted all over the globe, with no thought given to differing socio-cultural or ecological factors. Population growth, unequal access to resources, policies for resource use, and modern technology have all served to increase pressures and aggravate environmental problems.

In international border zones, urban sprawl has been accompanied by serious damage to the environment, the result of development. Solid waste is not processed sufficiently, contaminated sewage is pumped into surface and underground water supplies, the urban air becomes more and more polluted, and noise goes well beyond tolerable levels.

This article concerns a unique border zone, the region extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, 100 kilometres to the north and to the south of the US-Mexican border (see map). It is the only place in the world where a developed

country shares ecosystems with a developing country. It manifests, therefore, a large variety of the problems and conflicts which arise in both developed and developing countries.

This region is mostly arid. The average rainfall there is less than 300 mm a year, and it contains some of the dryest land in North America.

The predominant soil types in the region are calcic regosol of low or medium fertility and eutric regosol. There is also xerosol, which is easily worked but is subject to erosion. Besides these, there is some lithosol which is of no use for agriculture, and a small amount of finely textured clay vertisol, which is suitable for growing a large variety of crops.

Surface water is scarce. What there is, is used for agriculture, domestic consumption, and industry. The fact that there are very few streams that flow all the year round is immaterial. The Colorado River in the west and the Rio Bravo in the south provide the bulk of the water available for irrigation and development. Development has always relied heavily on underground water reserves, and this is becoming more and more the rule.

A million people cross the border daily. The disparity between the US side, with its high entry level, employment opportunities, services, and infrastructures, contrasts all too sharply with the poverty-stricken Mexican side, to which comparatively few people cross, and which suffers from high unemployment and a lack of health care, education, and other services. But although migration to the Mexican side of the border may be lower than that to the US side, internal migration to this part of Mexico is high, as it attracts Mexicans bound for the north.

Population figures for the cities of Tijuana and Mexicali are a good example. In 1921 they had 1000 and 7 000 inhabitants respectively. In 1940 the populations stood at 17 000 and 19000. By 1970 they were both among Mexico's biggest cities, and by 1980 had over half a million inhabitants.

Similarly, migration toward the US Sunbelt has brought about a rapid growth of human settlements in the southern US.

The region, therefore, is growing as much because of migration from the south as from the north. Recent studies have examined the complex links between population and environment - the appropriation of nature by society. Increased population, or even greater population density, cannot be blamed for increased environmental decay. The expansion in population and production in northern Mexico, however, has given rise to a deterioration in quality of produce, in the environment, and in living standards.

Environmental decay on the border. The development process of the border region between Mexico and the United States may be seen in terms of a huge socio-economic expansion in a fragile ecosystem in which both countries are involved. Bad management of the process has resulted in acute problems at both the local and the international level.

The survival of border ecosystems, with their shared energy sources, water, wind, fauna, pollution, and human population, depends on the coordination of the bordering countries' policies.

It is interesting to note that high living standards, strict controls on environmental pollution, recycling of renewable resources, and other such factors have taken large steps forward in industrialized countries, while creation of more pollution and less efficient exploitation of resources is more common in developing nations. These diverging policy lines are extremely visible in border regions.

The environmental problems found in the border region between Mexico and the United States cover an enormous range - from desertification caused by the cutting of trees for cocking purposes to industrial pollution caused by radioactive byproducts from nuclear bomb construction.

The following list is not exhaustive, but gives a general idea of the type of problems faced by the environment:

1) Water pollution. The scarcity of surface water has meant that water outflow from industry and human settlements has polluted surface water and underground reserves alike. The Rio Bravo washes banks in both Mexico and the United States; it is interesting to note which country suffers most from pollution.

2) Air pollution. The "grey triangle" is in this region. Three huge copper plants, two in Mexico and one in the United States, turn out sulphur dioxide at a rate of 3 300 tons a day. As 6 600 tons of undiluted sulphuric acid are produced in the process, the plants represent the largest sources of acid rain in the Americas. In addition, transport and industry, centred in urban areas, are large sources of pollution.

3) Soil pollution. Thousands of tons of urban and industrial waste are dumped into the soil each day, and they are building up in the ecosystem.

4) Radiation. Since the first atomic bombs were detonated in New Mexico, in the United States, the border strip has constantly been subjected to radiation. The first permanent dump for the by-products of nuclear weapon production is under construction at present; 55 000 cubic metres of toxic matter will be buried about a kilometre beneath the earth. Moreover, the region, which is heavily used by the US military, contains an unknown number of atomic

missiles and would be one of the main targets for warheads of enemies of the United States in the event of a nuclear conflict.

5) Extinction of flora and fauna. Situated to the north of the Tropic of Cancer, this vast region is home to a great variety of animal and plant species. Development has been merciless to nature, and the bison is a case in point.

In 1700, 60 million of these animals, Bison bison, roamed the plains of what is now the southern US and the northern part of the central Mexican plateau. The indigenous inhabitants hunted them for thousands of years without reducing their numbers or threatening them with extinction. Then the Europeans arrived, and by 1900, only a few dozen animals remained. As is obvious with a century's hindsight, lack of respect for nature was to blame. These hunters killed for the sake of killing, often taking only the tongue of their victims to make exotic dishes to satisfy bizarre tastes.

6) Agri-chemical pollution. The well-developed agriculture of the border region is intensive in capital, irrigation, technology, machinery, and agri-chemical products. DDT provides an interesting example of the difference in approach of the two countries to development.

The use of this pesticide has been prohibited in the US since 1972, so all the DDT produced there is exported, some of it going to Mexico. Because of advanced international integration, DDT returns to the United States in three ways: in agricultural produce exported from Mexico to the US; through the environment, especially in water; and, ironically, in barrels of DDT relabeled in Mexico and shipped straight back to the US under other names. Concentration of DDT in milk, water, and the environment in general has constantly increased, despite the 15-year ban.

The uncontrolled use of agrichemicals in Mexicali has poisoned surface and maybe underground water supplies. The Rio Bravo has become a drainage channel for the agri-chemical products of both countries, and many other examples can be found of water pollution caused by the use of agri-chemicals in the two countries.

7) The imbalance between society and nature. Perhaps the most significant effect of the development process is the polarization of a wealthy minority involved in industry, farming, trade, and speculation, and the falling real wages and standard of living of the majority on both sides of the border.

The exploitation by both countries of their shared natural resources has given rise to a corresponding exploitation of the majority by the minority. Although, on a global scale, the region is not particularly poor, the exploitation of resources and lower income groups seems to be leading more and more to the worst form of environmental decay: poverty.

Development in the border region between the United States and Mexico provides a good example of global interdependence of nations. Despite imbalances, the two countries have become dependent on each other to a certain extent.

Environmental diplomacy has achieved significant results in the region. An agreement was signed recently, for example, forbidding cross-border movements of dangerous waste (see box), while an accord on the quality and quantity of shared water resources has been in effect since 1944. With the passage of time, it has become obvious that negotiation is better for both nations than unilateral measures.

An analysis of the present situation and forecasts of future trends shows clearly that development in the region brings the following results:

- an increase in production
- a growth in the population
- an increase in population density
- a spread of urban areas
- an increase in the number of makeshift human settlements
- a fall in standards of accommodation, health care, and sanitation in areas where the immigration rate is low
- an increase in demand for limited natural resources
- an ever greater effect on the environment
- an increase in social problems.

If present trends continue, the prospects for the border region between now and the year 2000 are far from positive. It is essential that harmful programmes affecting these trends be reviewed and renewed. The following measures are suggested for a new approach to the urban phenomenon:

- use of alternative energy sources - water recycling
- private construction of accommodation and services
- awareness of over-use of resources which are already scarce
- reintroduction of traditional technologies and values
- encouragement of popular participation
- information and education on ecodevelopment
- recognition of potential new styles of development.

Prospects for the future of the border region are bleak. This fact must be recognized and acted upon to bring a new environmental order and a rise in living standards on both sides of the border.

Managing extended fisheries: a decade's modest progress

by Gerald Moore and Gunnar Saetersdal

The extension of fisheries jurisdiction to 200 miles, undertaken mostly during the latter part of the 1970s, raised great expectations for improved resource management and a more equitable sharing of the oceans' wealth between developed and developing nations. This article examines the extent to which the expectations of improved resource management have been fulfilled. A subsequent article will consider questions of the transfer of resource wealth. Since most of the changes cannot be expected to take full effect in the short term or even in the medium term, any assessment, barely seven or eight years after the event, may be premature and certainly will be incomplete. Nevertheless, it may be possible at this time to discern certain trends.

The extension of national jurisdiction followed a 20-year period when the world fish catch more than tripled as a result of the rapid expansion of industrial fisheries, rising from about 20 million tons in 1950 to about 65 million tons in 1970. The technological basis of this remarkable development included the increased use of synthetic fibres and the introduction of large stern trawlers and high-powered deck machinery. The expansion initially centred on highly productive areas of the North Pacific and North Atlantic. By 1970 it had spread throughout these regions into areas of rich coastal upwelling in the Eastern Central Pacific and Eastern Central Atlantic.

In most of these regions, concern for the resource base had accompanied the expansion of fisheries almost from the beginning. Many of the international regional fisheries bodies established to manage and conserve these resources were unable to perform adequately in part because fisheries science lagged behind the rapid technological developments in the industry. By the early 1970s, however, new advances made it apparent that the main obstacle to efficient management lay more in the design of the international management machinery and the premise underlying that design, namely, open access. In the area served by the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), for example, an evaluation of major stocks carried out in 1975-76 classified two stocks as underexploited, one as fully exploited, 28 as overexploited, and two as depleted. Much the same situation of excessive uncontrolled effort occurred in the Northwest Atlantic following the expansion of long-distance fleets operating in the area.

The combined effect of such pressure was a sharp decline in the annual growth rate of the total world catch - from an average of seven per cent prior to 1970 to an average between one and two per cent in succeeding years. The open access nature of existing fisheries regimes was identified as a major obstacle to achieving improved management and, from this, the extension of national coastal state fisheries jurisdiction was perceived as the key to solving, or at least alleviating, the problem.

Freedom and flexibility. The new regime created by the Law of the Sea Convention has gone a long way toward resolving, at the international level, the problem of open access. Most of the world's conventional fish resources fall under the new 200-mile jurisdiction of coastal states which now hold primary responsibility for their management. However, the Law of the Sea Convention provides few tangible guidelines for the management objectives and standards to be adopted by the coastal states in discharging these new responsibilities. Essentially, coastal states are left with a great deal of freedom and flexibility in fashioning their own national objectives and in fixing the level of utilization which they consider to be optimum.

The question thus arises as to whether this flexibility has resulted in any improved standards or objectives in regions of high fishing pressure after the extension of fisheries jurisdiction. Precise answers are possible only in a few regions with developed fisheries. In the Northeast Atlantic, for example, there is no evidence of any such shift, with the exception of Iceland, which from an early stage pursued a policy of rebuilding its exclusive stocks to a safer and more productive level. In the Northwest Atlantic, there is some evidence of improvement with the adaption of biological management criteria, approximating maximum economic yield, in a programme of stock recovery.

In the developing world, such precise assessment is not so easy. For many developing countries thinking in terms of fisheries management, as opposed to fisheries administration, is relatively new. Nonetheless, there is now widespread evidence in many developing countries of growing concern with fisheries management, even if there is as yet little evidence that precise biological standards for fisheries management have been adopted. But it is perhaps misleading to apply the same yardstick as for North Atlantic fisheries. In developing regions, with their dearth of fisheries scientists and enforcement staff, reliance on catch quotas, historically the basis of the North Atlantic management approach, is less attractive. For the most part, developing countries seem to be turning to more easily administered, if less precise, management systems, which have been able to take advantage of the shift to single state jurisdiction. Morocco and Malaysia, as examples, have recently adopted legislation requiring the formulation of fisheries management plans that would specify management objectives and standards and provide for licence limitation schemes. A number of other countries have passed similar laws. One common trend in these new systems is the increasing use of standards and objectives that, at least in theory, take into account economic as well as biological factors.

The practical impact of changes in management regimes on particular fisheries is difficult to assess, given the great natural variability of many marine fish stocks, but some broad trends may be detected. In the Northeast Atlantic an analysis carried out on more than 20 fish stocks in 1980-82, about five years after fisheries jurisdictions were extended, indicated that improvements in stock conditions were the exception rather than the rule. However, another analysis two to three years later contained more positive indications. Six important stocks were classified as recovering after periods of overfishing or depletion. At least four cases involving pelagic stocks could be directly attributed to drastic management action: complete cessation of fishing in three instances and the exclusion of foreign fishing in the fourth. Indications of recovery in two demersal stocks, Barents Sea cod and haddock, appears to have been the result of high natural recruitment, but this in turn may have been related to better maintenance of spawning stocks. It is expected that the improvements in exploitation patterns introduced under the present regime will be sufficient to bring about proper stock recoveries.

So far as other stocks in the Northeast Atlantic are concerned, there is, if anything, a tendency toward increased fishing pressure. North Sea demersal stocks are new exploited far above the maximum sustainable yield level, and the total catch of the recovering North Sea herring has been, for bath 1985 and 1986, twice the recommended total allowable catch, a result of the conflict over the sharing proportions.

No improvement. In general, one is forced to conclude that although there are some cases of successful management attributable to the simpler, more efficient regime of extended fisheries jurisdiction, there has been no generalized improvement in the state of exploitation of the resources in the Northeast Atlantic. The total catch during the 1978-83 period has fluctuated without discernible trend between 11 and 12 million tons. This lack of substantial progress is perhaps not surprising since about 80 per cent of the catch in this area comes from shared stocks still subject to international management. The prolonged period needed to develop an agreed fisheries policy for EEC countries has also contributed to the present situation.

The picture in the Northwest Atlantic is different.0 In the face of declining catch rates and stocks during the 1970s, a restrictive management policy was adopted as early as 1976-77 based on attaining maximum economic yield rather than maximum sustainable yield. With few exceptions Canada has maintained that policy and by 1982-83 had succeeded in building up stocks, particularly groundfish stocks, to the high levels of the 1960s. In contrast, cod stocks outside the 200 mile zone fished by foreign fleets and not subject to restrictive coastal state management have remained at a low level of abundance. The success of the resource restoration programme in the Northwest Atlantic can be attributed, at least in part, to a relatively simple management situation with a predominance of exclusive stocks and the fact that the principal coastal state, Canada, adopted a restrictive management policy at an early stage and adhered to it consistently. Whether Canada has made the best use in economic terms of the opportunities to improve and strengthen its fishing industry in the region is another question.

Like the Northeast Atlantic, the Northeast Pacific is characterized highly industrialized fisheries exploited by large distant water fleets. During the open access regime, however, there were fewer international fishery conflicts and those that did occur were less complicated than in the North Atlantic. Under the regime of extended fisheries jurisdiction, the dominant objective of the major coastal state, the United States, has been to reduce and control foreign fishing within the US zone. Management performance has on the whole been greatly improved for both international and national fisheries. Achievements include agreements on high seas fishing for salmon, expansion of joint management with Canada for halibut, control over the activities of foreign groundfish fleets, and the development of a considerable scale of joint venture fishing with foreign processing vessels. Some of these achievements have resulted in an improved state of resources, as in the case of halibut, where controls over foreign trawl fishing reduced the bycatch of juvenile and young fish. For the domestic ground fisheries as a whole, however, it seems doubtful whether the management system as it operates in practice is effective in maintaining the harvest at a sustained level.1 Stocks of king crab, snow crab, and deep sea shrimp have also been depleted.2 But other stocks reserved for national exploitation, such as cod, flatfishes, and herring, seem to be in an improved condition. This is perhaps more the result of the slow rate of development of coastal fisheries than of a consistent policy for the restoration of the resources.

In the Central and Southeast Pacific, trends in the state of exploitation of the major stocks have been affected and in part masked by the influence of the very strong environmental disruption caused by El Nino in 1982-83. There has been some recovery of the stock of California sardine, but this can hardly be ascribed to improved management induced by extended fisheries jurisdiction. Trends for the larger pelagic fisheries are difficult to identify. A recent increase in the much-reduced Peruvian anchovy stock may perhaps be related to improved cooperation in research and management in recent years.

In the productive Eastern Central Atlantic region, the depleted groundfish stocks in the north do not show any signs of recent recovery although foreign fishing is now being controlled by most coastal states.3 The large pelagic stocks of sardinellas, horse mackerel, and mackerel have also not shown much improvement from their somewhat overfished state, although the Moroccan sardine has responded to reduced foreign fishing and has increased in abundance. The situation in this region, as in other developing regions, is no doubt affected by the slow development of the national skills and systems for research, management, surveillance, and control, which are a prerequisite for effective management. Nevertheless there is evidence of increased concern to institute effective management, at both national and subregional levels, especially in the north of the region.

The Southeast Atlantic is a special case, since a large part of the shelf region, off Namibia, is not yet subject to extended fisheries jurisdiction and a multilateral management body (ICSAEF) is still operational in the area. The Namibian groundfish stocks have recently shown signs of a slight recovery but the clupeid stocks of anchovy and sardine are still depleted.4 If this picture is compared with the fate of the herring stocks in the Northeast Atlantic, it can be argued that the failure of any management action for the Namibian sardine stock is a consequence of the absence in practice of any extended fisheries jurisdiction.

In Southeast Asia there are conflicts between inshore and offshore fisheries and a complex problem of shared stocks that has only recently been touched upon. There are multilateral bodies for the promotion of fishery research and development in the area, but better management of shared stocks may perhaps only follow on the establishment of improved international mechanism for management. At the purely national level, however, there are encouraging indications of attempts to establish proper management systems, as for example in Malaysia.

Finally, in the Western Central Pacific, effort has reputedly been excessive in some of the fisheries.5 The management situation is complicated by the number of countries fishing in the area (27, of which 22 are coastal states), although by far the major fishing effort is by foreign distant water fleets. Although no agreement has yet been reached by the coastal states themselves on the need for management action and the type of action to be taken, with the exception of southern bluefin and some exclusively national stocks, the stage seems set for future management action. The centre piece is the negotiation of regional access agreements by coastal states, allowing for control over the total effort on the tuna stocks in the region. One such agreement has recently been concluded with the USA; it would cover fishing both inside and outside areas of coastal state jurisdiction. It seems likely that such regional agreements will be sought with other distant water fleets operating in the region, thus allowing for both economic and biological management of the fisheries in the future.

Concern for tuna. Management of tunas in other regions of the world continues to cause some concern. Although tunas account for only two to 2.5 million tons out of a world catch of almost 80 million tons, their high value and wide-ranging distribution have resulted in major international fisheries with high fishing pressures on some stocks and areas. Among international bodies dealing with tuna, only one, the InterAmerican Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) has been directly involved in management.6 Its work has recently been disrupted as a result of conflicts over the issue of coastal state sovereignty over highly migratory species. The conflict has caused the virtual collapse of the IATTC, which had been active since the 1950s. There have been several attempts to replace the Commission with a new international convention, but at the moment tuna stocks in the Eastern Pacific remain without agreed management. The general picture is now one of heavily exploited stocks (with the exception of skipjack), increasing difficulties, as a result of the extension of fisheries jurisdiction, in getting access to the detailed catch data needed for stock assessment, and a dearth of institutional arrangements through which management and allocation problems can be addressed. Until the debate over the sovereignty issue is finally resolved and new institutional structures emerge from the present uncertainties, there can be little hope for improvement.

Signs of a resolution of the tuna jurisdiction conflict in favour of recognition of coastal state sovereign rights are apparent in the new multilateral treaty agreed upon last April between certain Pacific Island States and the United States. The treaty also provides an indication of the way in which tuna management may be structured in the region in the future. Basically, this would involve management decision-making by the Pacific Island coastal states through the medium of the Forum Fisheries Agency, with the cooperation of fishing nations through the medium of regional access agreements.

While the new regime introduced by the Law of the Sea Convention has undoubtedly improved the fisheries management potential for stocks exclusive to single national jurisdictions, it has left basically unsettled the problem of the management of shared stocks, which varies in importance from region to region. In the Northeast Atlantic, for example, shared stocks account for more than 80 per cent of the total exploitable fish resources. In the other northern areas of high fishing pressure, the Northwest Atlantic and the North Pacific, the proportion of shared stocks is considerably less and the problems are correspondingly less important. In other areas, such as the Eastern Central Atlantic (from Morocco to Guinea-Bissau), the Southeast Atlantic (from Gabon to the Republic of South Africa), the Patagonian shelf, the East China Sea and Yellow Sea, the shared stock issue is potentially important. Unfortunately, the Law of the Sea Convention offers little guidance on the shared stock problem.

Given the lack of agreed and tangible guidelines, one of the first tasks has been to agree upon the principles to be followed in determining share allocations. Historical fishing patterns, though an obvious solution, have not proved a useful approach in the Northeast Atlantic for a number of reasons. First, with the extension of national jurisdiction the number of parties sharing the fisheries has decreased. Secondly, for some stocks, fishing activities have in the past been concentrated on a few established fishing grounds only within the wider area of distribution of the fish. Finally, there were also objections of principle against basing such important decisions merely on fishing patterns over recent years. The harvestable portion of a fishery resource represents only one component of a resource complex that includes reproductive, recruiting, and at times also special growth phases. The whole resource complex is itself dependent on the system of production at lower trophic levels in the sea. The geographical area of these different phases does not necessarily coincide with that of the fishable part of the population. As a matter of principle it would seem unreasonable not to take into consideration these factors when allocating access to a resource.

The coastal states of the Northeast Atlantic requested ICES, early on under the new regime of extended jurisdiction, to prepare a detailed description of the geographical distribution of the stocks during these various phases and of the fishing operations themselves as a basis for negotiations on the share proportions to be used when allocating access to shared stocks.

For highly migratory species, the problems of shared resources are in principle even more difficult. In practice, however, there are at present not many tuna stocks in the world under management schemes in which biologically based sharing formulae would form an integral part. The distribution of access to and benefits from these stocks has, up to new, been based mainly on historical and present fishing patterns. In the Eastern Pacific, for example, quotes for yellowfin tuna were originally allocated on the basis of historical fishing activity, though with some quotas reserved for coastal states under the Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuna Fishing Agreement adopted as an interim replacement for the IATTC Convention any permanent regime for the Eastern Pacific Ocean tuna fisheries would include equitable guaranteed quotas for coastal states based on, among other criteria, the concentration of the tuna resources. The agreement counterproposed by other Latin American coastal states provides no immediate objective criterion for allocation of resource shares. It would give pre-eminence to the establishment of national quotas by the individual coastal states, leaving open future negotiations on resource allocation among those coastal states. In either case, the issues will become of increasing importance in the future.

In the Southwestern and Central Pacific no regionwide biologically based management measures have yet been applied. In any event the predominance of the foreign distant water fleets in the region and the regional approach adopted to access licensing make the problems of allocation more tractable. The distribution of financial benefits from regional access agreements have up to now been based for the most part on the geographical location of actual fishing operations.

The continued problems of open access posed by shared stocks constitute a significant flaw in the otherwise much simpler regime based on coastal state jurisdiction. The issue has complicated the efficient establishment of the new regime and threatens its future execution, to an extent probably not foreseen the UNCLOS negotiations. It is perhaps not surprising that of the concrete examples given of improvement management, most have arisen in situations with a predominance of exclusive stocks.

The problem of shared stocks also raises the issue of institutional arrangements required for international management. As expected, the extension of fisheries jurisdiction has caused a shift away from multilateral fisheries commissions to more restricted and for the most part bilateral commissions, providing forums for an ongoing process of negotiation and agreement. In the Northeast Atlantic this has resulted in a management system that functions more efficiently and in a more timely fashion than the previous NEAFC regime.7 The main reason is that fewer parties are now involved in the negotiations. The change is probably symptomatic of management regimes for coastal fisheries throughout the world, at least in so far as fisheries bodies with real management powers are concerned. Even with regional fisheries bodies having only a recommendatory role with respect to management and general functions of coordination and development promotion, such as the FAO regional fisheries bodies, there has been a movement toward the establishment of management forums with membership restricted to coastal states, in recognition of the new sovereign rights of those states. For research, stock assessment, and purely advisory functions, multilateral regional organizations in which both coastal states and significant noncoastal fishing interests are directly or indirectly represented remain the most effective and preferred form.

One striking consequence of the extension of national fisheries jurisdiction has been the increasing interest shown by regional economic and political groupings in the management and development fisheries. Examples, in addition to the European Community, are the South Pacific Forum, which in 1979 set up its own regional Forum Fisheries Agency; the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is becoming increasingly involved in fisheries matters; the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which recently established a regional fisheries desk; the Caribbean Economic Community (CARICOM), which is embarking on a programme for the development of a common fisheries policy; and SELA (Sistema Econa Latina Americana), which has recently established its own fisheries agency, OLDEPESCA. The movement is hardly surprising, given that the extension of jurisdiction has now brought marine fisheries within the mainstream of coastal states' economies.

In summary, the picture of fisheries management almost a decade after the extension of fisheries jurisdiction is still unclear. Quantitatively, there have not been many concrete examples of improved management reflected in improved stocks directly attributable to the changes in the legal regime. There have been some failures and a number of missed opportunities. But there have been some successes. And more important, there does appear to be a growing awareness in both developing and developed countries of the need for fisheries management and an increasing commitment to plan for and carry out that management. The results cannot yet be measured objectively. But the importance of the change in thinking in fisheries circles should not be underestimated. To obtain concrete results will take time, but it does seem that the process has already begun.

The last decade for pesticides?

by David Barkin

[David Barkin is research director, Ecodevelopment Centre, Mexico City, and Full Professor of Economics, Universidad Auta Metropolitans, Xochimilco Campus. The research on which this article is based was conducted as part of the research programme of the Ecodevelopment Centre an institutional member of the Mexican Council for Science and Technology.]

Reliance on pesticides constitutes a fundamental part of prevailing agricultural technology. But increasingly, research by agronomists, plant breeders, and biotechnologists is offering new options which are bath more profitable and ecologically less pernicious. As these new technologies are developing, and pesticide technology is waning, it is not surprising to see a lively struggle among chemical companies, farmers, and the public over the use of pesticides. At present, restrictions on the use of pesticides are increasingly common and more effectively enforced in recognition of the dangers to workers in the fields and factories, to consumers, and to the environment.

The challenge to agriculturists concerned about practising a sustainable agriculture is to develop alternative approaches to pest control which reduce or eliminate the dangers of contamination and persistence in the environment inherent in the use of noxious agrochemicals, while limiting problems of infestation and resistance among potential pests. Concurrently, for the greatest number of the world's farmers - the smallholders of the Third World - the search for alternatives is not simply a response to dangers or restrictions: it is a necessity born of the lack of the economic wherewithal to implement the chemical approach to pest management.

When the high economic, human, and resource costs of pesticide dependency are considered alongside the growing problems, the case in support of a concerted effort to develop and implement new approaches to pest control becomes compelling. The World Bank recognized this need in its 1985 guidelines for project support: "Sound pest management should aim to reduce dependence on chemical pesticides through the establishment of economic control thresholds and through the use, wherever possible, of agronomic and related practices which reduce the severity of pest attacks." Thus, after a brief discussion of the pesticide problem, this article will focus on the constructive alternatives to the use of pesticides already available to enhance agricultural productivity. These alternatives take several different approaches: changing cultivation patterns to reduce the problem of infestation through crop rotation and biological controls; the introduction of integrated, non-chemical pest management programmes; and new forms of delivery of chemicals less pernicious to people and their environment.

The pesticide problem. Pesticides are lethal by definition. To be effective, they must be toxic. In some cases, they are specific to one organism, but in most they are deadly to a range of flora or fauna. Since the Second World War, the use of pesticides in agriculture has reshaped economic and social development. Their introduction and dissemination facilitated the opening of new regions to cultivation and the transformation of others to new crops. The impact was particularly dramatic in tropical and subtropical areas, where commercial agriculture often destroyed natural settings and traditional models of diversified cultivation.

Pesticides also offered a solution to another problem: how to incorporate the complex ecologies of diverse micro-environments into a more homogeneous pattern of resource management. Smallholder agriculture, which still predominates in most of the world, evolved from the complex interaction between human selection of plants for domestication and the environments in which cultivation occurred. Modern society has modified this interaction between culture, biology, and environment. Pesticides constitute a particularly powerful class of agents of such transformations. Their introduction into agriculture offered the possibility of simplifying cultivation practices by reducing the number of exogenous variables that had to be manipulated by the producer. By defining a broad variety of flora and fauna as "pests" and eliminating or suppressing them with synthetic substances, modern agriculturists did not have to acquire the broad base of knowledge and wide variety of techniques which the "traditional" cultivator inherited. Thus, pesticides accelerated the pace of monocropping, which in turn was part of rural insertion into the internationalized production system.

These transformations are viewed with favour among a substantial part of the commercial and research communities in agriculture. In contrast, those concerned about the welfare and survival of the world's small farmers have been concerned that the high costs of pesticides has made them inaccessible for most smallholders. In the long run, however, this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, for even the fervent supporters of pesticides are beginning to recognize their drawbacks and to reassess the value of the traditional farmers' techniques. The pesticides are toxic not only to the creatures they are intended to attack. They also strike other living organisms, including the workers who manufacture and apply them and the ultimate consumers of the food products. And they accumulate in the soil and water, thereby posing a growing threat into the future. An additional problem stems from the fact that pesticides can kill off the natural predators of the "pests", so that the applicators find themselves in a vicious circle, requiring more chemicals to control the growing scourge. Still worse from the point of view of the commercial farmer, their effectiveness is diminishing with time as the targets develop resistance to their toxicity, rendering the chemicals useless.

Alternatives to pesticide technology. Until recently, most of the critical literature on pesticide use has called for an end to synthetic pesticides, with few proposals for alternatives. However, many researchers have now begun to study the techniques used by farmers in confronting pest problems during the generations before the advent of synthetic chemical compounds; others have documented the use of modern methods.

In the following sections, some examples will be discussed as part of a review of the directions of current and future work in this area.

a) Changing cultivation practices and patterns. One of the most widely recognized sources of concern in agriculture is the potential damage from plagues associated with intensive cultivation of a single commercial crop in a concentrated area. This problem is particularly serious in the cultivation of cotton, which demands more insecticides than any other single crop. In most regions it shows a typical pattern in which exclusive reliance on chemicals works well over a short period (from 5 to 15 years), only to require increasing dosages and more frequent applications as the pests gain resistance, until they can no longer be controlled economically, if at all. Several different strategies, involving a combination of methods, have been used to confront the problem. The experience in Peru in the 1950s is particularly illustrative of an effective eclectic approach. There, cotton cultivation was threatened by declining yields as a result of the reduced efficacy of the synthetic chemicals. Instead of attempting a different range of chemicals, the enlightened authorities banned the use of synthetic organic pesticides, reintroduced beneficial insects, and "mandated the adoption of certain cultural practices, such as early maturing varieties, establishing deadlines for planting, and destroying crop residues". As a result of this programme, primary pest outbreaks declined dramatically in intensity and cotton yields rose 30 per cent over previous levels.

The inclination to combat plagues with synthetic chemicals is so ingrained that alternative approaches are often strongly resisted by scientists and planters alike. Thus, when the United Fruit Company found that its Costa Rican plantations were infested by two insects, it immediately resorted to the aerial and ground application of insecticides. Continued problems with insects were met with more intensive applications without success. The original group of entomologists was subsequently replaced by others who called for a drastic reduction in the use of synthetic agents. Only after some 15 years of work and experiments with smaller applications were the ecologically oriented entomologists able to convince the company to take "a bold step" of stopping all insecticide spraying. Within two years, the pest problem disappeared. The success of the programme was enhanced by the proximity of nearby forests that provided refuge for the natural enemies of the pests during the years of intensive applications of pesticides, offering evidence of the importance of environmental diversity in a programme of ecological control.

Diversified ecologies and cultivation patterns and practices are well suited to the nutritional and other needs of smallholder populations. For example, the highly productive chinampa system, developed by the pre-Columbian populations of Mexico, "incorporates interplanting of crops in unusually sophisticated ways, mimicking the natural conditions of the humid rainforest and thereby controlling for moisture, nutrients, light absorption, and pests." In the highland areas of Mexico interplanting and varietal selection for resistance to pests and weather variation are all elements in the traditional agricultural system. Fortunately, these practices persist in spite of the onslaught of modern technology, especially in those regions where commercial agriculture has not been sufficiently profitable to draw people from the security of their traditional approaches to food production.

More research is needed on diversified cropping systems. But even with our rudimentary knowledge, it is apparent that such systems offer great potential for minimizing the damage from pests while also enhancing agriculture's ability to meet the world's food needs and improve the incomes of small farmers.

b) Integrated pest management. A different approach to pest control in cotton, using "trap crops", has also been proven as a means to reduce pesticide use. A programme in Nicaragua demonstrated the effectiveness of preceding the regular planting season with the introduction of small plots which would be used to attract pest populations, especially the boll weevil, where they could be attacked by intensive applications of insecticides as part of a broader "Integrated Pest Management" (IPM) programme. The programme "reduced subsequent pesticide applications by 30 per cent and produced a cotton yield nearly 15 per cent higher" than in fields using traditional chemical approaches to pest control. This was complemented by "dense seeding to obtain a high plant population resistant to damage by soil pests, and scouting at three- to four-day intervals by trained field aides to monitor the growth and development of the cotton plants and determine the status of pests and activity of natural enemies." This approach requires "area-wide implementation for success because key pests are widely distributed and highly mobile over the cottongrowing area."1 "But unlike certain self-perpetuating biological pest controls, IPM for cotton requires constant vigilance.... The system requires, beyond good design, adequate education and rewards for human organisms that keep it running."

Similar techniques have been used elsewhere with striking success. Brazilian agricultural researchers sought help from US colleagues in controlling infestations in soybeans. National research organizations and international sources joined to create a programme which defined "economic thresholds" below which the presence of pests could be tolerated without a decline in yield or seed quality. Only when infestations exceeded this level would minimal dosages of non-persistent pesticides having the least detrimental effect on natural enemies be applied. As a result of the IPM programme, pesticide applications on soybeans decreased by 80-90 per cent between 1975 and 1982.

A beetle infestation of coconut palm, a major source of the world's edible oil with multiple other uses in the tropics, inspired a group of FAO scientists to develop a biological control programme based on the use of a lethal virus that attacked the larvae. The disease, which caused millions of dollars of damage annually, was identified in 1953. By 1979 the problem had been controlled to such an extent that the programme was terminated.

Another case of biological controls is the fight against the mealybug, which affects cassava planting among subsistence producers in Africa. Initially, in spite of the fact that cassava is a fundamental part of the diet of millions, it was ignored by the international agricultural community because it was not an important cash or food crop in the temperate zones. But when pests began to cause widespread devastation, the search for some natural enemy became urgent. As a result of a coordinated international effort, scientists were able to find a wasp that was a particularly effective natural enemy of the mealybug. The success of this project has been held back by the difficulty of propagating the wasp as fast as required in the many African countries which are "desperately waiting for releases". Another problem with this biological agent, as with most others, is that it is "very cheap to maintain, but extremely expensive to develop and initially distribute. Since there is no long-term potential for profit, multinational corporations will rarely, if ever, invest in this type of control.... The case serves to underline the need for generous investments by governments, and the high return, in human terms, such investments can yield."

The potential benefits of IPM are not limited to the developing countries. Even among the highly commercialized fruit and vegetable growers of the US state of Florida, the use of biological agents is widely accepted as an environmentally more benign approach to pest control. Although some of these agents are being created with genetic engineering techniques most of them are likely to be found naturally occurring.

c) New forms of pesticide delivery. The agrochemical companies are developing new strategies to meet the criticisms of chemical pesticides and to defend their markets. The groundwork for this move has been set with the gradual assimilation of many independent seed companies by transnational corporations active in other agricultural input markets. With this integration, the companies have been modifying seeds through varietal selection and genetic manipulation to make the crops more resistant to certain pests and also to induce resistance to certain chemicals which can then be applied to control the spread of other plagues affecting that crop.6

This technology is most advanced in the area of developing herbicide tolerant plant crops using a patented "aroA gene" "which permits more widespread and frequent use of herbicides for post-emergent weed control while reducing the need for pre emergent application".'' Although industry spokespeople argue that this will reduce the need for tillage (as part of a change in grain technology in dryland farming) and therefore lower groundwater contamination, a commentator pointed out that this innovation will lead to greater herbicide use and therefore more releases of toxic substances and accumulation in the environment.

Another approach is to bundle seeds in a "cocoon" package including appropriate (proprietary) chemicals to assure the timed release of fertilizers and pesticides appropriate for specific environmental conditions. Advocates say that with this specific targeting, smaller doses of synthetic chemicals will be required, while the profits of the chemical companies will be greater.

The handwriting on the wall. Although pesticides continue to be used as part of the struggle for higher productivity, increasing pressures from groups concerned with the environment will combine with the economic logic of the profit equation to push farmers and researchers to search for alternative ways to handle pest control problems. At present, technology is not always contributing to progress in this direction. For example, herbicide use is increasing with the "minimum tillage" movement. But there is increasing recognition of the need to promote techniques to raise productivity without using environmentally damaging chemicals and practices. With this understanding, alternatives to the prevailing models of "modern" and "commercial" cultivation practices are being adopted along with other approaches to pest control. Many of these involve a belated appreciation of the wisdom of "traditional" farming systems.

It remains to be seen whether industry responses to the criticisms of present pesticide technologies are effective approaches to confront the economic and environmental problems. The companies themselves see the handwriting on the wall: present pesticide practices have proved to be socially unacceptable, technologically inefficient, and economically unsound, and alternative solutions must be developed for a more sustainable agriculture.

Escaping from sterile political straitjackets

World Prices and Development, edited by Stephany Griffith-Jones and Charles Harvey. Gower, Aldershot, 1985, 377 pp.

Though the grand theories of development and underdevelopment are less in evidence today, there is considerable empirical work designed to answer some of the questions raised in the earlier debates. The volume under review is a prime example of this trend, illustrating as it does the approach developed by the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex. Careful empirical investigation is allied to a sound sense of political realities and a refusal to kow-tow to particular interest groups.

The purpose of the collected essays in this volume is to examine the impact of world prices on development through case studies of the recent economic history of Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Malawi, Brazil, Ireland, the Republic of Korea, Argentina, Kuwait, Venezuela, Tunisia, and Jordan. They generally keep to the brief set by the editors and are reliable and informative. In essence the project of this volume is to evaluate various Third World countries' (the case of Ireland seems anomalous) policy responses to changes in the international environment, focusing on long-term implications for development rather than the more customary emphasis on short-term adjustment. There is a clear recognition that political factors may often constrain economic policy decisions, and the approach is decidedly interdisciplinary rather than technical. Though not neglecting macroeconomic change, the essays emphasize the decisive importance of sectoral considerations on adjustment, following the inspiration of the late Dudley Seers.

The present project is set in the context of the generalized deterioration of developing countries' economic performance in the 1980s. With the serious reduction of world trade rates in the 1980s, it seems futile to continue to advocate export-led growth strategies. Whereas the recession of the mid-1970s was relatively short-lived, in 1982 the recorded current balances of industrial countries were still in deficit. As a result, the developing countries were faced with a continued decline in the demand for their exports. The response of the developing countries in the mid-1970s was an increase in borrowing, which, of course, led to the dramatic foreign debt problem. Had interest rates remained very low, and could a rapid export growth have been maintained, the debt issue would still have been serious, but now the margins of adjustment are severely curtailed and the restriction of growth appears the only alternative.

Though the benefits from international finance and trade were distributed unevenly among developing countries, the world recession of the early 1980s has harmed practically all of them. This implies, as the editors note, that "collective self-reliance" may increasingly become a practical necessity and not merely an attractive ideological option. There are common interests in growth and development which cut across the political differences of the Third World, and response.

It is in this context that we should evaluate the policies followed in practice by developing countries in response to variations in world prices.

Balance sheet d experience. On the basis of the various national case studies carried out with a similar methodological brief, the editors attempt to draw general conclusions on the relation between world prices and development. Some of the contributions do not get beyond such trite formulas as: "The inflation rate should be reduced to ensure sound economic development in me long run." The editors go considerably beyond platitudes, although they were unable to generalize on the basis of countries' trade surplus or deficit in energy, food, and capital goods as originally hoped for. Indeed, in somewhat of an understatement they note that "financial and macroeconomic management is not only decided in the Central Bank or the Ministry of Finance, but is heavily influenced by socio-economic and political forces in society." Bearing in mind that such "extraneous" factors may unbalance the best-planned policy decisions, the following are the main features of policy-making successful in generating growth:

- taking account of a country's past history and structural features in designing economic policies;

- the consistent use of targeted state intervention to achieve particular targets;

- market management rather than freeing market forces or simply ignoring them;

- flexibility in responding to large, and often frequent, changes in the international environment;

- a combination of pragmatic use of policy investments with prudence in financial management.

This, of course, is no magic checklist, completion of which guarantees economic development, but it represents a thoughtful balance-sheet of the experience of many Third World countries over the last two decades.

The contribution to our understanding of current development issues made by this volume is considerable. The work is conceptually sophisticated yet quite approachable by the nonspecialist. Its conclusions are suitably prudent but by no means hide behind technical jargon to avoid embarrassing political conclusions. There is much to interest the specialist: for example the country-by-country consideration of food policies or the question of energy. For the general reader, there is an up-to-date consideration of the prospects for development in an intelligent sample of countries. Politically, the conclusions may not please in diverse quarters. The neoliberal enthusiasts of market forces may not like the advocacy of state intervention. Conversely, the proponents of a debt moratorium may reject the call for prudence in financial matters. Nevertheless, the impartial observer will recognize the considerable effort, especially by the editors in their summing up, to break out of sterile political straitjackets. The issues of underdevelopment are too serious to allow for the ritual incantation of pat formulas with little purchase on a rapidly changing reality.

It may soon be possible to move back toward a general theoretical understanding of underdevelopment on the basis of careful empirical studies like the present one. Since the heydays of modernization and dependency theories respectively no general approach has held sway. The effect has been healthy, but at the same time we will have to move back again from the particular to the general if our understanding is to be fully rounded.

Ronaldo Munck