This paper is the result of a project undertaken in the Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, at the invitation of and with support from the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Donald Kennedy (Center for Environmental Science and Policy) and David Holloway (Center for International Security and Arms Control) were codirectors of the project. Erika Weinthal served as research associate.
Although many fisheries stocks have declined precipitously throughout the world, fish farming--and especially shrimp and salmon farming--has boomed. The increasingly large scale of these enterprises is now having unforeseen ecological consequences on ocean resources through habitat destruction, effluent discharge, exotic species introductions, and heightened fish catch for feed use.
Nitrogen fertilization is a substantial source of nitrogen-containing trace gases that have both regional and global consequences. In the intensive wheat systems of Mexico, typical fertilization practices lead to extremely high fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O) and nitric oxide (NO). In experiments, lower rates of nitrogen fertilizer, applied later in the crop cycle, reduced the loss of nitrogen without affecting yield and grain quality. Economic analyses projected this alternative practice to save 12 to 17 percent of after-tax profits.
Life itself as well as the entire human economy depends on goods and services provided by earth's natural systems. The processes of cleansing, recycling, and renewal, along with goods such as seafood, forage, and timber, are worth many trillions of dollars annually, and nothing could live without them. Yet growing human impacts on the environment are profoundly disrupting the functioning of natural systems and imperiling the delivery of these services.
The race between population and food is a classic theme, yet the outcome of this contest is of enduring contemporary interest. Interestingly, the two variables that are set opposite one another in the race are fundamentally different in character. Population is primarily a stock concept that rises monotonically (when births exceed deaths), whereas food production is overwhelmingly a flow variable that exhibits substantial year-to-year fluctuations. These latter fluctuations, in turn, cause significant economic and nutritional consequences at the household level.
This review explores the potential energy, soil, and water constraints on highly productive agricultural systems. It focuses on the process of agricultural intensification during the past 50 years, and it shows that multiple constraints-as opposed to a single constraint, such as energy-are needed to assess the future sustainability of intensive agricultural production. Recent studies documenting changes in total factor productivity based on long-term experimental trials and field surveys are discussed in detail.
Urbanization is now a dominant demographic phenomenon in low- and middle-income countries. By the year 2000, half of the world's population will live in urban areas; of this half, two thirds will be in developing countries, predominantly in Asia. Whether there will be a corresponding shift of poverty from rural to urban areas is the central question of this analysis. Evidence from cross-sectional, time-series, and case data indicates that the percent of poverty in urban areas is dependent on income levels, income growth, and income distribution.
Economic growth and rising labour costs in many regions of Asia have led to the widespread adoption of herbicides in rice production. This trend has been reinforced by the spread of direct seeded rice technologies that require chemical weed control in the early stages of crop growth to prevent substantial yield losses.
The interaction between real wages and institutional arrangements represents an important equilibrating mechanism that directly affects employment and seasonal incomes for unskilled women in Asia. This article examines recent trends in real wages and employment practices for women in the Javanese rice economy. The evidence indicates that the terms of institutional arrangements, like real wages, have improved with increasing demand for labour off the farm and rising labour productivity in rice production.
Rising labour costs and declining terms of trade for rice farmers on Java during the 1980s have encouraged the adoption of labour-saving technologies. This paper uses extensive field survey evidence to illustrate current patterns of labour-displacing technological change in the Javanese rice economy. It presents the recent introduction of pre-emergence herbicides as a potential revolution in labour-saving technologies, comparable to that of small rice mills and sickles. The evidence shows that the growing use of tractors and machine threshers is further reducing labour inputs.
This chapter reviews the complex set of relationships among rice strategies, policy instruments, economic variables, and food policy objectives as they have evolved since the early 1970s. The intent is to provide readers unfamiliar with the recent history of Indonesian rice policy with a summary of rice policy and production performance and to offer already knowledgeable readers an interpretive approach to understanding how strategies, policies, variables, and objectives have fit together.
This book examines the components of Indonesia's rice policy to help policymakers, analysts, and observers sort out the pros and cons of alternative courses of action. Containing the results of the Food Research Institute's third multiyear research project on Indonesian food policy, the book combines new field-based empirical evidence on rice farming profitability and rural employment and wages with long experience in analyzing Indonesian food policy issues and the international market for rice.
Lack of consensus among researchers in Indonesia concerning real wage trends in rice production has generated disagreement over rural labour market conditions on Java. This paper identifies some empirical difficulties associated with measuring real wages, difficulties which have contributed to conflicting results in the literature. It is argued that the choice of deflator and the time period of analysis play a significant role in the calculation of real wages.