Natural Resource Conservation, Poverty Alleviation, and Farmer Partnership

Umar Farooq, Munir Ahmad, Abdul Wahid Jasra


Agriculture has now been seen in its multiple roles like
contributing to development as an economic activity, source of
livelihood, provider of environmental services and a unique instrument
to overall development. As an economic activity, it is a source of
growth for national economy, food security, foreign exchange as well as
provider of investment opportunities for agro-based industries and rural
non-farm economy. As source of livelihood, it provides jobs to majority
of the people, especially the small holders, landless and the poor. In
terms of environmental services, being the major player in underground
water depletion, agrochemical pollution, soil exhaustion and global
climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture can create
good and bad environmental outcomes. Its environmental contributions in
managing watersheds and preserving biodiversity are generally
unrecognised and unremunerated. Agriculture has well established record
as an instrument for poverty reduction1 as well as a leading sector for
overall growth in the agriculture-based countries of the world [World
Bank (2007)]. In future, agriculture has to commit more promises (e.g.
bio-fuel) to the nation without compromising over primary responsibility
of food security along with poverty alleviation, conservation of natural
resource base, environment protection etc. Unfortunately, the
agriculture has been vastly underused for development.

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