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Sustainable agricultural development strategies in fragile lands:

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  • Scherr, Sara J.
  • Hazell, P. B. R.

Abstract

Current trends in demography, agricultural production and rural environment in the developing countries suggest that so-called "marginal lands" must play a larger and probably growing role in food supply and economic development for the foreseeable future. To fulfill this critical role, public policy towards these lands needs to be revised. A key policy focus should be to strengthen incentives for local land users to not only maintain, but to improve the natural resource base for food and fiber supply. Such "land-improving investments" are needed to reduce production and subsistence risks and permit more intensive use without degradation. Under population and market pressure, one can expect an endogenous process of intensification, through land improvements, tenurial and institutional changes and "re-ordering" of the landscape. But this process is not automatic. Factors influencing the pace and scale of land transformation include: farmer knowledge of degradation of the degrading resource; incentives for long-term investment; capacity to mobilize resources for land investment; level of economic returns to such investment; and factors affecting the formation and function of local groups to help mobilize resources and coordinate landscape-level change. Current policies often work to constrain, rather than support, this process. New research is needed to support policy change for "marginal" lands.

Suggested Citation

  • Scherr, Sara J. & Hazell, P. B. R., 1994. "Sustainable agricultural development strategies in fragile lands:," EPTD discussion papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:eptddp:1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barker, Randolph & Chapman, Duane, 1988. "The Economics of Sustainable Agricultural Systems in Developing Countries," Working Papers 178691, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    2. Rosegrant, Mark W. & Binswanger, Hans P., 1994. "Markets in tradable water rights: Potential for efficiency gains in developing country water resource allocation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(11), pages 1613-1625, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pender, John L., 1998. "Population growth, agricultural intensification, induced innovation and natural resource sustainability: An application of neoclassical growth theory," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 99-112, September.
    2. World Bank, 2005. "Uganda : Policy Options for Increasing Crop Productivity and Reducing Soil Nutrient Depletion and Poverty," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8647, The World Bank.
    3. Chamberlin, Jordan & Pender, John & Yu, Bingxin, 2006. "Development domains for Ethiopia: capturing the geographical context of smallholder development options," EPTD discussion papers 159, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Zeller, Manfred & Lapenu, Cécile & Minten, Bart & Ralison, Eliane & Randrianaivo, Désiré & Randrianarisoa, Claude, 2000. "Pathways of rural development in Madagascar," FCND discussion papers 82, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Pender, John & Nkonya, Ephraim & Jagger, Pamela & Sserunkuuma, Dick & Ssali, Henry, 2004. "Strategies to increase agricultural productivity and reduce land degradation: evidence from Uganda," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 31(2-3), pages 181-195, December.
    6. Pender, John L. & Scherr, Sara J., 1999. "Organizational development and natural resource management: evidence from central Honduras," EPTD discussion papers 49, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Pender, John L. & Jagger, Pamela & Nkonya, Ephraim M. & Sserunkuuma, Dick, 2001. "Development pathways and land management in Uganda: causes and implications," EPTD discussion papers 85, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Bhalla, G. S. & Hazell, P. B. R. & Kerr, John M., 1999. "Prospects for India's cereal supply and demand to 2020:," 2020 vision discussion papers 29, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Barbier, Bruno & Bergeron, Gilles, 2001. "Natural resource management in the hillsides of Honduras: bioeconomic modeling at the micro-watershed level," Research reports 123, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Nkonya, Ephraim & von Braun, Joachim & Mirzabaev, Alisher & Le, Quang Bao & Kwon, Ho Young & Kirui, Oliver K., 2013. "Economics of Land Degradation Initiative: Methods and Approach for Global and National Assessments," Discussion Papers 158663, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    11. Pender, John L., 1999. "Rural population growth, agricultural change and natural resource management in developing countries: a review of hypotheses and some evidence from Honduras," EPTD discussion papers 48, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Templeton, Scott R. & Scherr, Sara J., 1999. "Effects of Demographic and Related Microeconomic Change on Land Quality in Hills and Mountains of Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 903-918, June.
    13. Scherr, Sara J., 1995. "Economic factors in farmer adoption of agroforestry: Patterns observed in Western Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 787-804, May.
    14. Fan, Shenggen & Hazell, P. B. R., 1999. "Are returns to public investment lower in less-favored rural areas?: an empirical analysis of India," EPTD discussion papers 43, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G. & Smith, Vincent H., 1997. "Financing agricultural research and development in rich countries: what's happening and why," EPTD discussion papers 29, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    16. Fan, Shenngen & Hazell, Peter & Haque, T., 2000. "Targeting public investments by agro-ecological zone to achieve growth and poverty alleviation goals in rural India," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 411-428, August.
    17. Templeton, Scott R. & Scherr, Sara J., 1997. "Population pressure and the microeconomy of land management in hills and mountains of developing countries:," EPTD discussion papers 26, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    18. Nkonya, Ephraim & Kaizzi, Crammer & Pender, John, 2005. "Determinants of nutrient balances in a maize farming system in eastern Uganda," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 155-182, August.
    19. Nkonya, Ephraim M. & Pender, John & Kato, Edward & Mugarura, Samuel & Muwonge, James, 2005. "Who knows, who cares?: determinants of enactment, awareness and compliance with community natural resource management," CAPRi working papers 41, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    20. Pender, John L. & Scherr, Sara J. & Durón, Guadalupe, 1999. "Pathways of development in the hillsides of Honduras: causes and implications for agricultural production, poverty, and sustainable resource use," EPTD discussion papers 45, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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    Keywords

    Land use Economic aspects.; Investments.;

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