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Farming Systems Principles

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International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics; United Nations Environment ProgrammeAuthor
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International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics ; Patancheru 502324, Andhra Pradesh, India
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Farming systems principles for improved food production and the control of soil degradation in the arid, semi-arid, and humid tropics: summary proceedings of an Experts' Meeting Sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme, ICRISAT Center, India, 20-23 June 1983 / International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics; United Nations Environment Programme
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Each year, 6 mi l l ion hectares of cul t ivated land are lost for agr icul tural product ion through soil degradat ion. Wi t h smal l populat ions, wi th prudent management , land can be farmed indef ini - t ively. But the wor ld' s growing populat ion demands the product ion of ever-increasing quant i t ies of food, f iber , and fuel f r om the land. Consequent ly, mor e and mor e land i s being farmed wi th increasing intensi ty. Since pr ime agr icul tural land is l imi ted, marginal land is being brought into agr icul tural produc t ion. The soils of these areas are subject to degradat ion and cannot sustain higher levels of product ivi t y for any appreciable length of t ime.
  • Thi s meet ing reflects the concern of UNE P over the dangers of soi l degradat ion resul t ing f r om inappropr iate agr icul tural practices. They wi l l lead to envi ronmental degradat ion that t r igger or exacerbate the neglect of land and of rural development . Nat ional development plans should emphasize the formulat ion and implementat ion of envi ronmental l y sound agr icul tural policies and practices. Pr ior i t y should be given to soil conservat ion and the nonwasteful use of soil resources.
  • It is intended to focus the at tent ion of pol icymaker s at al l levels on the need to formulate  appropr iate soi l policies, and to l ink programs of increased product ion wi th those of soil conservat ion. UNE P has been for tunat e in having the col laborat ion of I C R I S A T in organizing this meet ing. We have t r ied to cover a wide spect rum of agr icul tural envi ronments, ranging f r om deserts, through the semi -ar id t ropics, to the humi d lowland t ropics.
  • A signi f icant outcome of this meet ing has been the drawing up of guidelines for farming systems to prevent soil degradat ion. These guidel ines, suppor ted by recommended research pr ior i t ies, are intended for the use of pol icymaker s and planners. The f i rst par t of these proceedings presents the guidelines and is fol lowed by summar ies of case study papers cont r ibuted by par t icipant s in the second par t . 
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