Agricultural Development in the Highlands
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Agricultural Development in the Highlands

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Lhasa
July 24, 2005

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  • 1. Agricultural Development in the Highlands Joachim von Braun Director General International Food Policy Research Institute Lhasa July 24, 2005
  • 2. Overview  Highlands in the international agenda  Highland environments in the world and Asia  Food security and nutrition  Challenges to agricultural development  Strategies for agricultural development
  • 3. Highlands in the global agenda  Chapter 13 on Agenda 21 at the UN Earth Summit (1992) is devoted to mountains  International Year of Mountains (2002)  Mountain Forum  Mountain Partnership  CGIAR Global Mountain Program, CGIAR African Highlands Initiative
  • 4. Mountain environments in the world  12 % of world population lives in mountain areas (720 million people)  40 % of world population occupies the watershed below mountain areas Half of the world’s population depend directly or indirectly on mountains
  • 5. Distribution of mountain population by region Total mountain population: 720 millions Developed Countries Asia and Pacific 8% 46% Countries in transition 4% Sub-Saharan Africa 12% Near East and Latin America and Caribbean North Africa 14% 16% Source: Huddleston et al. 2003
  • 6. Rural/ Urban Population in Mountain Regions Urban 14% Rural Urban Rural 53% 47% 86% Urban 22% Rural Asia and 78% Latin America and Pacific Caribbean Sub Saharan Africa Source: Huddleston et al. 2003
  • 7. Mountain area in developing countries by type of land Barren land Cropland 33% 7% Protected area 10% Closed forest 25% Grazing land 25% Source: Huddleston et al. 2003
  • 8. Main farming systems in mountain regions Upland intensive 30% mixed 8% 10% Highland mixed 5% Percentage of rural mountain population Upland extensive 8% Percentage of mountain area mixed 4% 8% Pastoral 16% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Source: Huddleston et al. 2003
  • 9. South and Central Asia highlands  Pastoral systems predominate  Meat and wool production are main sources of income  Excessive animal population and poor grazing causes erosion and degradation of open pastures.  Deforestation poses major threats
  • 10. East and Southeast Asia highlands  Heavily populated and overwhelmingly rural  Extremely small landholdings, low crop production per person  Farmers increasingly moving into marginal sloping lands to survive.  Highland regions can be productive, e.g. Slopes of southern China o moderate altitudes and gentle slopes o rice and wheat as staples o livestock for meat and income o good links to markets
  • 11. Food security and nutrition in highlands  Half of mountain population in developing countries (250-370 million people) are vulnerable to food insecurity (FAO 2002)  High nutrient deficiency: iodine, iron, and Vitamin A
  • 12. Challenges to agricultural development in highlands  Inaccessibility: obstructs mobility, imposes isolation and closeness  Fragility: Poor soil quality, harsh climate, erosion  Marginality: product of fragility and inaccessibility, and historical and political processes  Diversity: highlands are very heterogeneous in climate, soil fertility, culture
  • 13. Further challenges  Remoteness to markets and services o Lack of infrastructure  Subsistence orientation of farmers  Limited understanding of mountain environments by policy makers
  • 14. Environmental constraints in mountain areas Source: Huddleston et al. 2003
  • 15. Most pressing challenge to agricultural development Increasing imbalance between population and available productive land Deforestation, water scarcity, reduced biodiversity Soil erosion and soil impoverishment Increasing poverty and undernourishment
  • 16. Pillars of agricultural development in highlands  Stimulate growth in agricultural productivity  Raise income  Conserve resources
  • 17. Strategies for agricultural development in highlands  Increase public investment in less-favored areas: high returns to investment  Develop effective economic linkages with national economies  Reform property rights institutions  Improve access to markets, link to public investment in infrastructure
  • 18. Strategies for agricultural development in highlands (Cont’d)  Design policies and technologies that encourage diversification  Develop technology suited for highlands  Strengthen scientific capacity for developing country mountain regions, such as meteorology, hydrology, ecology and soil sciences