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WORLD BANK:

Hassan M. Hassan, Senior Environment Specialist, presented a paper on behalf of John English that was based on the Bank's experiences. Using examples drawn from Machakos, Kenya, the Kano Close Settled Zone in Nigeria, and cotton production in West Africa, he demonstrated the adaptation of agricultural systems to accommodate population growth and effective production-oriented programmes. He noted that the primary problem in tackling land degradation is the marginalization of these areas in relation to others in the country. The remedy is to link development programmes in these regions to the main centers of economic activity. This would also involve providing incentives to farmers, such as guaranteed long-term benefits for their products, and diversifying economic activities. However, he pointed out that land rights were not a significant factor in the adoption of new programmes. He proposed policy elements including: the raising of the value of farm products; economically and technically viable land use programmes; diversified farming approaches; farming methods derived from farmer-to-farmer visits; diversification of income sources; and seasonal or permanent out-migratory practices. He emphasized the need for information and research and the need to develop cross-boundary solutions.