The marginal subsistence economy in many rural communities does not permit the economic flexibility required for experimentation. Added to this is the entrenched individualism, once necessary for traditional subsistence farming, which results in large and small farmers holding tenaciously to traditional patterns of agriculture. There is deep reluctance to change any component in a time honoured interlocking system of production, transportation and marketing. For the small farmer the inflexible use of traditional agriculture is related to the simple methods used for transporting goods - for example, increasing yields would overtax the limited capacity for carrying goods to the marketplace over rough access roads by traditional animals. Furthermore, although crop diversification is the trend in world agriculture, the viability of new crops is not been adequately demonstrated to farmers, and there is deep apprehension of the risks involved.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.