Providing incentives to undertake conservation measures
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends encouraging policies that would provide incentives to farmers and local people to undertake conservation and regenerative measures.
On-farm research and development projects in SE Asia's uplands have addressed problems of ecosystems degradation. Farmer adoption, however, of land conserving technologies has generally not resulted or has not been sustainable. From research on four agroforestry projects and two policy approaches meant to protect upland resources, six lessons emerge regarding recommended innovations and methods for farmer adoption: (1) problem identification and prioritization require great care; (2) farmer technical approaches to problems and their underlying technical knowledge should be carefully considered; (3) appropriateness of technical innovations to target populations and environments should be continually evaluated; (4) farmer participation in the adaptation of a menu of technical offerings efficiently combines researcher-farmer inputs; (5) research or implementation policies should be re-evaluated as adoption gets underway; and (6) incentives need careful thought. Overall, variable scale diagnosis and design that is unbiased towards pre-selected technologies is needed. Lessons learned contributed to farmer-participatory agroforestry research being conducted in an upland rice-based system in the Philippines.
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