The extraction and utilization of natural resources, and the making of decisions concerning their use, are inhibited because technology, systems and procedures for extracting and utilizing resources are not equitably distributed nor does their development respond to need. This absence of a global sharing in technology and in the transfer and coordination of skills results in inefficient production and consequent waste of natural resources.
The constraints which impede sufficient utilization of local raw materials include: technological; markets and marketing (including commercial power and the response of industrialized economies); and external (such as infrastructure and long-term effects). The underdeveloped transport network has hampered the effective exploitation of the greater part of the natural resources in the least developed countries and thus set serious limitations to their use in the over-all development effort.
There exists a range of relatively low-cost raw materials which are not exploited and for which high cost alternatives are employed or developed. Once commercial interests are organized to manufacture the higher cost alternatives, there is considerable pressure against any attempt to develop the use of the cheaper alternatives.
Examples of underused plant resources include rice bran and the water hyacinth.