Agricultural intensification, irrigation and the environment in South Asia: Issues and policy options
High population pressure and the rapid pace of human activity including urbanization, industrialization and other economic activities have led to a dwindling supply of arable land per capita and a process of agricultural intensification in South Asia. While this process has significantly increased food production to feed the growing population, it has also entailed considerable damage to the physical environment, including degradation and depletion of natural resources and unsustainable use of land and water resources. This paper employs the analytical tools of economic theory, environmental and ecological economics to model the impact of irrigation in South Asia. It underscores the need for an eclectic approach to policy responses stemming from private and common property rights theories, externality theory and sustainability theory with a view to environmentalizing agricultural development.
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