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In: Poverty and rural development: planners, peasants and poverty, edited by K. Puttaswamaiah. London, England, Intermediate Technology Publications, 1990. 144-70.Insufficient regular supplies of water prevents increased agricultural production in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, but the possibilities for reducing water consumption to save water in rice field areas are complicated and only moderately optimistic. Sri Lanka's use of tractors as its technology-based solution to cut down on staggering and foster early cultivation was a mistake. Tractorization actually followed traditional buffalo tillage techniques. In addition, necessary institutional reform did not accompany tractorization. 25 years after introduction of mechanization, Sri Lanka addressed the need to improve the performance of institutions in water management and their relations with farmers. One institution reform of water management has been accomplished, the strategy choice for reducing water consumption hinges on the hydrological characteristics of each area, where water is in adequate supply for full drysowing crops and partial cultivation of intermonsoon crops. Variations are tillage on residual moisture and sowing a proportion of the drysowing crop area under nonpaddy crops and either paddy or nonpaddy crops during the intermonsoon period, depending on water availability. Irrigation administrators must be very familiar with delivery systems and committed to managing water to increase crop production. Further, there must be mutual sympathy between irrigation engineers and farmers. In order for appropriate motivation to occur, however, irrigation professionals must recognize the traditional bias towards construction and design and away from water management. Other past problems which must be overcome include poor living conditions in some remote areas leading to professionals being unwilling to work in these areas and widespread high turnover of senior staff. Politicians and irrigation professionals should visit remote schemes more frequently to gain a deeper commitment to water management.
Development. 1992; (2):17-21.A Vice President of the Society for International Development discusses practical ways to manage the environment by developing and executing an ecologically sustainable policy on food and energy. Despite the abundance of international declarations and guidelines since 1972, many ecological tragedies have taken place: drought in Africa; chemical leak in Bhopal, India; and nuclear fallout from a nuclear reactor in Chernobyl in the former USSR. Deforestation; burning of fossil fuels; release of methane from rice planting, cattle farming, and waste dumps; release of chlorofluorocarbons are all contributing to the rising temperature of the planet's atmosphere. Reforestation is needed to break down excess carbon dioxide. Local development projects and universal development strategies are needed to solve this great ecological problem. The only sustainable solution to the food problem includes a definition of ecological limits for international and national agricultural policies and development and use of agricultural techniques that guarantee a sustainable food supply. In industrialized countries, farmers must reduce agricultural overproduction and use less intensive production methods to protect soil and ground water. We must begin rational consumption of energy and using alternative forms of energy such as wind, water, and sun. These efforts require considerable financial, human, and technical resources through international cooperation. A multidisciplinary approach is needed to implement various alternative supply models. We must return to regional and local planning and action and also establish an orderly transfer of technology and research by improving education, communication, and training. This transfer cannot be a 1-way transfer, however. The European Common Market is an example of international cooperation to address common problems.