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    The state of the environment 1985. Environmental aspects of emerging agricultural technologies. Population and the environment.

    United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP]

    Nairobi, Kenya, UNEP, 1984. [3], vi, 43 p.

    World production of food crops has basically increased from 1945-1985 due to the emergence of agricultural technologies such as petroleum- based chemical fertilizers and pesticides, efficient and sophisticated farm equipment, hybridization, and, recently, genetic engineering. However, only developed countries and a few developing countries, for example India, have experienced this growth. Social, economic, environmental, and political factors such as inequitable access to resources have prevented this phenomenon from occurring in developing countries where the people often experience famine and malnutrition. Nevertheless the technical path which lead to high food crop yields cannot always be adapted by many poor farmers and landless laborers in developing countries. Further, this path is energy intensive and destroys the environment. To increase production in developing countries, the governments must encourage environmentally sound agricultural development, such as integrated pest management and minimum tillage. Despite any attempts at increasing food production in these countries, however, rapid population growth hampers any increases. As population grows, the availability of fertile, tillable land for food crops decreases. In addition, soil degradation and deforestation occur because more trees and plants are cleared to grow crops and, immediately following harvest, a new set of crops are grown quickly thereby depleting the topsoil and its nutrients. Further, people gather more wood for cooking. These governments, with cooperation and aid from developed countries and international agencies, need to address a multitude of problems such as poverty, population growth, environmental degradation, and women's status, in order to bring food production, the status of the environment, and population growth into balance.
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