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Agricultural Development in the Highlands


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July 24, 2005

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Agricultural Development in the Highlands

  1. 1. Agricultural Development in the Highlands Joachim von Braun Director General International Food Policy Research Institute Lhasa July 24, 2005
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 14. Environmental constraints in mountain areas Source: Huddleston et al. 2003
  15. 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. 16. Pillars of agricultural development in highlands  Stimulate growth in agricultural productivity  Raise income  Conserve resources
  17. 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. 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