In the wake of the Green Revolution: Environmental and socioeconomic consequences of intensive rice agriculture - The Problems of weeds in Muda, Malaysia
Sammanfattning: The agricultural intensification strategies represented by the Green Revolution have since the mid-1960s had a very positive impact on food-grain production in Asia. Presently, however, a post-Green Revolution phase of declining growth in output and productivity is experienced in many of the areas where intensification took place. Partly, this can be explained by a number of environmental problems facing the intensive production systems. One central question concerns the equity implications of the emerging sustainability problems. This work describes and analyses the background and emergence of one set of environmental sustainability problems in Asian intensive rice agriculture, namely the problems of weeds and other pests. In a case study of five villages in a typical Green Revolution area, the Muda irrigation scheme in Malaysia, the distributional implications of weed problems are analysed. The development of an analytical model for the weed problem is based on the assumption that any attempt to understand farmers' weed problems must incorporate social and economic data in the analysis. Central for the model is that the analysis of the weed problem must take into account the impact of factors related to other geographical levels (village, region, nation) than the field and farm levels. The study shows that, during the dry season, weeds caused significant economic losses among a third of the sample households due to a combination of yield reduction and increased production costs The problems were, however, not evenly distributed among villages and farm units. In the two villages most severely affected certain farmers were able to successfully control weed infestations while a majority of the households experienced high weed densities. Analysing both the intra- and the inter-village differences in weed infestation the study shows that differences in economic resources is the most important factor in explaining differences within the villages and that this factor combines with advantageous bio-physical and institutional factors to produce marked inter-village differences.
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