Agri-business and sustainable development
The emergence of Eastern Visayas as a leader in agri-business is a key component of the Vision adopted in its Regional Development Plan, 2011-2016. It is thought that agri-business can provide employment opportunities and higher family income to a large number of the labor force.
However, the growth of agri-business can have its disadvantages. This may come as a surprise because we usually say that more agricultural production is always a boon to the economy.
This is not all that there is to it, particularly if there is a widespread use of pesticides.
It is widely known that pesticides can be harmful to living organisms.
If this happens extensively then it has its costs, and society has to pay for it.
The “externalities” of agri-business could include adverse effects in human health and the need for funding projects that will reduce the ill-effects of the use of pesticides.
Treatment of those who get sick and the consequent inability to work has its costs which can in effect reduce the gains of increased production.
The costs may not be shouldered by the farmers using the pesticide. It could be to the account of the national government which has to maintain hospitals and provide medical care.
If the chemicals from pesticides go into drinking water, then the treatment of affected source of water and the affected residents has its cost, which may not be paid for by the farmer using the pesticide.
There has to be a lot of care in pursuing agri-business, to make sure it is not harmful and is therefore sustainable.
Some authors conclude that what is needed are adequate safeguards to ensure that agricultural technology is applied in the least damaging, most environmentally sustainable way. This would include integrated pest management.
Sustainability means that growth must be viewed not only across income groups but also between generations.
By: Junie Go-Soco
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