Investing in microenvironmental agriculture Planning farm production at micro-scale
Typically, microenvironments (MEs) are ecologically specialized compared with their surroundings; concentrate soil, water and nutrients; are protected; and are physically, biologically and managerially complex and diverse. In third world agriculture, MEs often contribute to livelihoods and their sustainability by diversifying households' portfolio of sources of food and income, by intensifying, increasing and stabilizing production and decreasing risk, by storing and supplying reserves for bad times and contingencies, by reducing the need to migrate, and by providing sites for innovation and experiment.
In knowledge, and in R & D to develop the considerable potentials of MEs in third world agriculture, farmers have several comparative advantages but scientists can help as consultants. As a precondition for long-term investment in MEs, farm families need clear and secure rights and tenure. Non-farming professionals can contribute through better observation and heightened awareness of MEs, and through reversals of location, learning, and role. A shift in extension from packages of practices to baskets of choices should enable farming systems and livelihoods to be more sustainable by becoming more complex and diverse. A challenge to non-farming agricultural professionals in the 1990s is whether they can make the quiet personal revolutions needed to support these changes.
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.