ENB:04:11 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

IFAD:

Gary Howe spoke about alternative livelihood systems. He said that although IFAD could not offer an alternative, the issue was important because it appears unlikely that with the present technology and incentives, a stable relationship between the environment and the demands placed on it by the people can be achieved. He explained that since desertification is anthropogenic and the alternative is to provide people with alternative non-agricultural income generating activities outside of the most vulnerable areas. He mentioned three environmentally friendly ways of livelihood diversification identified by UNSO: non-extractive activities using natural resources; agro-processing aimed at increasing the economic value at the local level; and small-scale industry using local inputs. He stressed that success in local diversification will depend on: better linkages to national and regional markets coupled by significant improvements in transport and communications and buoyancy in the markets. He stated that privileged incentives such as access to foreign currency at low rates, subsidized credit, and positions in public procurement offered to large businesses through macro-economic policies is harmful to micro-enterprises located in marginal areas. He said these distortions have to be eliminated for the micro-economic enterprises to succeed. He concluded that the solution lies in giving the local people alternatives to agriculture.