Integrated Planning and Management of Land ResourcesFAOCSDUNEP
World Summit on Sustainable Development, South Africa 2002

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Looking Forward to Rio+10: Reporting Progress on Land and Agriculture

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Message 25



Dear Colleagues,

My name is Milton Ayoki, a Research Consultant with Uganda Participatory
Poverty Assessment Project in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic
Development and also a researcher in global trade issues. My contribution
relates to environment and sustainability question, from Uganda perspective.
Also have also raised the issue of AIDS/HIV and concerns that surround the
multilateral approach to trade liberalization. They definitely have a
bearing on agriculture and the future the conference is trying to pursue.

The Uganda experience is that poverty, population growth, natural resource
depletion and environmental degradation are linked in a vicious cycle.
Uganda, like many poor countries is struggling to overcome widespread
poverty and destitution, including food shortages, unemployment, inadequate
housing, stagnating or even falling standards of health and education,
inadequate infrastructure, and escalating public indebtedness. The
prevailing poverty and rapid population growth has resulted into land
degradation and deforestation and subsequently to food insecurity. The
demand for food, for instance, is expected to treble over the next 30 years,
and previous experience indicates that poverty and food shortages have a
negative impact on economic, social and political stability.

Environment/Agricultural Sustainability

An information file is excerpted from our recent study on Investment and
Employment in Agriculture and Rural Sector in Uganda [from the Moderators:
please find this file under Mr. Ayoki's Message in the "Record of
contributions" on the web site]. I am sure it raises a number of questions
relevant to the conference.

AIDS/HIV concerns

HIV/AIDS has had significant adverse effects on parameters such as household
demographic composition, labour and income. These in turn have knock-on
effects on ability to produce food, schooling of children, cropping
patterns, livestock production, labour allocation, access to productive
assets, and consumption of goods and services.

Although statistics on the impact of HIV on agriculture are rather scanty
(or scarce), there are indications that on average farm households' labour
force may have been reduced by about 20 per cent as a result of HIV/AIDS
(NEMA Status Report 1999). This translates to lost productive days of about
180 person-days per household per year. Hence the productive capacity of a
farm household is significantly reduced.
Yet, despite the high incidence of HIV/AIDS, many policy makers still view
it as a medical or health problem only, rather than a development problem.
This will in the long run undermine social welfare and rural development
progress so far attained, if no sustainable mitigation strategies are
implemented soon.

To this effect, an integrated approach to sensitize the public and hence
reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS and its consequences should be initiated in
the rural areas as well. The Uganda Government must however be commended for
its effort in educating the public through the mass media, but such programs
appear to impact mainly on the urban rich who have communication means.
Public awareness should not be limited to the media alone, but through other
means as well, such as public gathering, use of local council administration
at the grassroots and so on, to increase awareness.

Global liberalization/multilateral trade and investment agreements

There are legitimate concerns regarding environment implications of liberal
investment prescribed in the GATT rules. In addition, the need to safeguard
national sovereignty, strategic considerations, and protection of cultural
heritage has been raised by developing countries in their opposition to the
Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) agreement.

There is also concern about anticipated increase in unemployment as work is
increasingly mechanized and automated, as corporate farming and
biotechnology replace traditional small scale agriculture, and as corporate
activity becomes more mobile, unrestricted and unaccountable. Then, the
massive shift from rural to urban areas, with commensurate poverty, famine,
ethnic friction, and degradation of living and working conditions and human
rights.

The Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of
the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) resulted in an agreement
that globalizes the agriculture sector. As a result, agricultural support
policies have been taken away from unilateral policy making and brought
under multilateral rule. Specifically:
(i) Trade in agriculture commodities is currently more bound than trade
in industrial products.
(ii) Although agriculture commodities face a few tariff barriers, they
face many non- tariff barriers.
(iii) Within agreement on agriculture there are imbalances with respect to
the operation of the commitments on domestic support measures as well as
export subsidy regimes.

With respect to European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the
move to establish Regional Free Trade Associations (FTAs), the future of
trade relations between ACP countries and the EU is undoubtedly affected.
Without a significant shift in the EU agriculture policy, free trade
agreements with the EU will not improve market access for exporters in the
Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). These agreements are more
likely to improve market access for the well-established European exporters.
This concern is at the heart of the reasons for the on-going debate on the
kind of options for future EU/ACP relations.

Another concern that I want to pose is the system of Trade-Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). It is important to address the
concerns raised by developing countries that the agreement may escalate the
imbalance against developing countries by restricting access to new
technology. The TRIPS agreement put developing countries, already
constrained by low levels of income, limited degree of skill development and
the dearth of indigenous technological innovation capacity at a
disadvantage. We therefore, need measures to strengthen technology transfer
and diffusion through the encouragement of local innovation and
technological development. Given the complexities associated with TRIPS
there is a need for technical assistance, as well as close attention paid to
discussions on the implementation as they unfold in the WTO.

For future negotiations on the trade and environment agreement, Uganda would
hope that the more developed countries do not use environmental measures as
the new protectionist measures. It will prefer to see that the new
environmental measures do not impose significant increases in domestic
production costs that could render domestic firms less competitive thereby
weakening further the already fragile market access.

Thank you




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