, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 629-644
Date: 22 Jul 2010

Agricultural Development and Associated Environmental and Ethical Issues in South Asia

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Abstract

South Asia is one of the most densely populated regions of the world, where despite a slow growth, agriculture remains the backbone of rural economy as it employs one half to over 90 percent of the labor force. Both extensive and intensive policy measures for agriculture development to feed the massive population of the region have resulted in land degradation and desertification, water scarcity, pollution from agrochemicals, and loss of agricultural biodiversity. The social and ethical aspects portray even a grimmer picture of the region with growing poverty mainly, amongst small farmers, food scarcity, and overall poor quality of life. This article reviews the historical perspective of agriculture development in the region and gives a panoramic view of the policy initiatives and their environmental as well as social and ethical spin-offs. The aim is to explore the environmental and ethical dimensions of the agricultural development in South Asia and recommend a holistic approach in formulating plans and programs to combat environmental degradation, hunger, and poverty resulting from unsustainable agricultural practices.