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Environmental and human costs of commercial agricultural production in South Asia

Environmental and human costs of commercial agricultural production in South Asia In writing a paper to honour Professor Clem Tisdell, it is apt to focus attention on the environmental and human costs of commercial agricultural production, especially the Green Revolution technology in South Asia during the last few decades. This is an area where Professor Tisdell has done much research, amongst the multitude of other research interests he has pursued in his very illustrious career. Modern commercial agricultural practices involving chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides have been associated with huge increases in food production never witnessed before and, in the case of cereal production (especially wheat) under Green Revolution technology, recorded spectacular growth. As statistics show, production and productivity have increased. However, the high chemical usage of fertilizers and pesticides to bring about these spectacular increases in food production is not without its problems. A visible parallel correlation between higher productivity, high chemical input use and environmental degradation and human health effects is evident in many countries where commercial agriculture is widespread. This paper discusses the environmental and health effects/costs arising from the high use of chemical inputs to increase production and productivity in South Asia, with a field study carried out in Sri Lanka to show the health costs arising from direct exposure to pesticides during pesticide handling and spraying on farms by small‐scale farmers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Social Economics Emerald Publishing

Environmental and human costs of commercial agricultural production in South Asia

International Journal of Social Economics , Volume 27 (7/8/9/10): 31 – Jul 1, 2000

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 MCB UP Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0306-8293
DOI
10.1108/03068290010335244
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In writing a paper to honour Professor Clem Tisdell, it is apt to focus attention on the environmental and human costs of commercial agricultural production, especially the Green Revolution technology in South Asia during the last few decades. This is an area where Professor Tisdell has done much research, amongst the multitude of other research interests he has pursued in his very illustrious career. Modern commercial agricultural practices involving chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides have been associated with huge increases in food production never witnessed before and, in the case of cereal production (especially wheat) under Green Revolution technology, recorded spectacular growth. As statistics show, production and productivity have increased. However, the high chemical usage of fertilizers and pesticides to bring about these spectacular increases in food production is not without its problems. A visible parallel correlation between higher productivity, high chemical input use and environmental degradation and human health effects is evident in many countries where commercial agriculture is widespread. This paper discusses the environmental and health effects/costs arising from the high use of chemical inputs to increase production and productivity in South Asia, with a field study carried out in Sri Lanka to show the health costs arising from direct exposure to pesticides during pesticide handling and spraying on farms by small‐scale farmers.

Journal

International Journal of Social EconomicsEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 1, 2000

Keywords: Asia; Agriculture; Green issues; Biotechnology; Environmental impact; Health

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