Assessment Task 4


Chapter 9

Q4.The agricultural systems differ in a variety of ways. Among them is the land ownership concept. In Latin America, large pieces of land are in the hands of few individuals. In Asia, there is a small piece of land belonging to many people. In Africa on the other hand, there is plenty of land that it is underutilised due to practise of shifting cultivation. Another difference comes in the adoption of various farming practises. Most countries in Asia and Latin America are adopting green revolution. However, Africa is lagging behind in this sector. This brings the difference when it comes to food security prospects.

The common characteristics include: agriculture is the main economic activity for the individuals involved. Most of the food and livestock produced is also meant for family consumption.

Q7. The stages include subsistence, mixed and modern commercial farming. Subsistence farming is characterised by; food is produced for family consumption, minimal capital is invested and underemployment of labour in most parts of the year. Mixed farming on its part is characterised by; staple crops no longer dominate the output of the farm and new cash crops are brought into play. Modern commercial farming on the other hand is characterised by technical and biological progress, improvement in living standards and increase in number of agricultural experts to educate the farmers.

Q11. Land reform is rare since governments do not put much effort in seeing the process through. They are bowed by the political pressure emanating from the powerful land owners. Another reason is because small farmers do not have the ability of purchasing land from the prominent land owners due to market failures.

Chapter 10

Q2. Poverty leads to environmental degradation in a variety of ways. In the urban areas, it results to development of slums. Slums usually have poor drainage and infrastructure systems. This leads to improper disposal of sewerage and other waste products hence resulting to pollution. In rural areas, poverty makes agriculture the main economic activity. Increase in population therefore necessitates increase in food production. This results to destruction of forest in order to create additional land. Water catchment areas are destroyed in the process and global warming is also enhanced.

Among the environmental problems that the urban and rural poor face is biological pathogens which are either water-borne, water-washed (or water-scarce), airborne or food-borne among others. Another problem is chemical pollutants emanating from indoor air pollution caused by stoves, fires and occupational exposure for home workers. There is also the problem of water or land pollution emanating from waste dumping or use of pesticides in the farms near the rivers.

The differences include that the rural poor have the ability of controlling most of their problems compared to the urban poor. The rural poor can minimise usage of various pesticides along the rivers hence reduce water pollution. The urban poor have minimal control since most of the water and air pollution are contributed by companies involved in manufacturing activities.

Q7. The objectives are mutually reinforcing since they focus on both the present and the future. They try to ensure that the benefits accruing to people in the current generation are likely to emerge in the future.

Q11. For the global environmental problems, developed countries could be involved in reducing the amount of green house gases so that it can be equal to the amount the earth has the ability to absorb. High carbon emission taxes should be instituted whereby a company is taxed based on its level of emission. The increased cost will prompt companies to invest in research and development hence coming up with production mechanisms with minimal carbon emission.

For the domestic LDCs they should initiate education programs that sensitive people on the need of practising environmental friendly agricultural activities. This would entail reducing deforestation and use of chemicals that deplete land resources. Education on the need for family planning would be also important. This is because increased population growth is a key contributor to various environmental problems being faced in LDCs.



Section A

Agriculture in Indonesia

Agriculture is a viable economic activity in Indonesia since it contributes around 15% of the country’s GDP.

In Indonesia, land conflicts have been common over the past years due to the existing land tenure system. The tenure system is complex since it uses both the legal rights and customary rights land ownership systems. These systems are inconsistent in various ways. Development policies are more focused on rapid economic growth without giving strategies that will benefit the less powerful more emphasis (Kanō, 2013). The current tenure system makes the land rights of unregistered owners to be insecure. This comprise of the poor land owners who use the customary tenure system since they view the registration process as unnecessarily expensive. On most occasions the customary land tenure system is not recognised by the national law when there are conflicts between the two. Villagers rely on legally weak land documents and customary rights in attempts of excluding outsiders, which tend to provide feeble protection. This unclear land tenure legal status makes it difficult to implement REDD+. It is a mechanism developed to mitigate climate change globally by reducing green house gas emissions emanating from forest degradation and deforestation (Eicher, 2014).

Indonesia’s vast fertile soil has made the country a global producer of various agricultural products. Even though agriculture’s contribution to the country’s GDP might have declined in the last 5 decades, the activity still provides income for majority of the households. In 2012, around 49 million people were employed in the agricultural sector. This represents 41% of the total workforce available in the country. The sector might not be growing as steadily as the service and industry sectors currently, but its growth is still sufficient. In 2010, there was a 2.9% growth, 3% in 2011, 4% in 2012 and 3.4% in 2013 (Eicher, 2014). The most important agricultural products include palm oil, rubber, cocoa, coffee, tea, rice, cassava and tropical spices. Poultry, beef and fish farming are also common agricultural products in the country.

Green Revolution gained its penetration into Indonesia’s agricultural sector in early 1970s. Extension officers at all levels have supported each other in providing technical guidance to farmers in rural areas with regard to rice cultivation. They have introduced a rice cultivation system recognised as panca usaha tani. It has full financial and political support hence enabling it to function effectively. These extension activities were the determining factors of rice productivity improvements. Before the green revolution, one hectare produced 1-2 tonnes of rice. Implementation of new technological production mechanisms and modern inputs has increased the productivity levels to 2-4 tonnes per hectare (Kanō, 2013).

In light of the current food problems in the country, the government is opening the door for Genetically Modified (GM) crops. The deputy agriculture minister reiterated that the country needed GM crops in order eradicate hunger and undernourishment. The types of GM foods expected to grace Indonesia include golden rice that is claimed to contain significant levels of beta-carotene, which is deemed suitable for developing countries. However, there have been various non-governmental groups opposed to usage of GM crops due to various health related concerns.

Section B

Environmental Disasters

Indonesia experiences several natural disasters due to its location in an area that experiences a lot of tectonic activities. The country has had to cope with constant risks of earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. Indonesia has made headlines on the global scene due to these disasters, which have resulted to loss of many human and animal lives.

The recent earthquakes that have been experienced in the country include Pangandaran and Yogyakarta earthquakes, which occurred in Java and Yogyakarta respectively in the year 2006. Panagandaran earthquake killed over 700 people while the later killed over 5,800 (Kumar & Motha, 2013). It is said that other people died later due to the indirect effects of the earthquake. A lot of people were displaced as a result. 2009 saw the emergence of Padang earthquake which claimed around 1,117 lives. Sumatra and Mentawi earthquakes also occurred in 2010 whereby Sumatra earthquake killed over 500 people while the later displaced more than 20,000 people (Kumar & Motha, 2013).

More recently there has been Sinabung and Kelud eruption which occurred in February of 2014 at Karo Regency and Blitar respectively. Sinabang eruption displaced over 30,000 people while the later displaced 100,000. In 2013, there were a series of landslides and floods in Agam Regency, Manado and West Bandung Regency which left over 100 dead (Otsuka, 2014). Many people were displaced as a result.

These environmental disasters have impacted the country’s current and future economic development in various ways. Some of the people killed in these disasters are an integral part of the labour force. This hinders innovation in that most of the projects these people were working on tend to stall. There is also the prospect of families losing their soul bread winners once the disasters strike. This diminishes their living standards hence hindering prospects of economic development in the affected areas.

Once the disasters strike various infrastructures, industries and land are destroyed. This leads to reduction of goods and services produced in the country, which has an impact on the GDP since it is directly related to economic development. People also end up losing their income generating opportunities hence resulting to poverty in the affected areas. The government is also required to invest massive funds in order to repair the damages incurred. This prospect slows the growth of economic development since the funds could have been used in other developmental projects (Schumpeter, 2013).

Floods and landslides on their part have the ability of destroying trees hence contributing to deforestation. Increase of such activities results to increased emission of greenhouse gases, which is detrimental to sustainable economic development (Otsuka, 2014).



Eicher, C., 2014, Agricultural Activities in Indonesia. Economic Development ,23(9), 27.

Kanō, H., 2013, Indonesian exports, peasant agriculture and the world economy. Singapore:         NUS Press.

Kumar, M. V., & Motha, R. P., 2013, Natural disasters and extreme events in agriculture impacts and mitigation. Berlin: Springer.

Otsuka, K., 2014, Negative Impacts of the Natural Disasters. Natural Disasters in             Asia34(16), 156.

Schumpeter, J. A., 2013, The theory of economic development. New Jersey: Transaction    Publishers.

Todaro M. & Smith S., 2011, Economic Development, 11th Ed.,


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