World Bank has high hopes for East Asia’s agriculture sector
A new World Bank study highlights the incidence, drivers and significant consequences of agricultural pollution in China, Vietnam, and the Philippines but it also offers a hopeful outlook, citing the available technical solutions and the increased political will to address the problem.
The ‘Challenge of Agricultural Pollution: Evidence from China, Vietnam, and the Philippines’ study compiles available data on a broad range of pollutants and impacts, and lays out a vision for a cleaner and safer agriculture.
“Although agricultural pollutants are many, a wide range of technical solutions can help improve animal and crop waste management and optimize the use of agrochemicals, plastics, veterinary drugs, and feed. Many of the solutions offer opportunities toboost the quality and value of agricultural production,” the study said.
Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development at World Bank, said agricultural growth has played a significant role in increasing food security and lifting millions of people out of poverty in East Asia over the last three decades.
However, she said this growth has also come at a high price, resulting in unprecedented soil, water and air pollution in the region.
“Investing in the prevention and control of pollution is key to ensuring that development gains in agriculture are sustainable. Good pollution control policies and measures can increase the profitability of agriculture and spur the development of a competitive food industry while enhancing human and environmental health,” Tuck further said.
Acting on pollution has the potential to energize the pursuit of emerging national policy priorities, which
include enhancing food safety, adding value to agricultural products, improving diet quality, attracting a new generation of farmers and food entrepreneurs, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change, the study further said.