88 | Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) Report

greater calorie intake and allow them to embark on consumption patterns that had hitherto been reserved for consumers in industrial countries with, at least nominally, much higher income. FAO’s long-term outlook suggests that the shift toward a greater supply of energy will accelerate and that it will encompass a growing number of countries.

In addition to falling real prices of food, rapid urbanization has and will continue to affect consumption patterns. Essentially the entire population growth over the next 30 years will be urban. Urbanization creates a new, improved marketing and distribution infrastructure, attracts supermarkets and their sophisticated food handling systems (cold chains, etc.), and brings about better roads and ports. It thus improves access for foreign suppliers, imports become important in the overall supply of food, and all in all urbanization globalizes dietary patterns.

Most importantly from a nutrition perspective, these changes include not only a shift toward higher food-energy supplies but also a shift toward more fats and oils and more animal-based foodstuffs, and thus higher intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol.

As discussed above, growing population and declining agricultural productivity are likely to create more demand for foods that most CWANA countries may not be able to meet locally, at least in the short to medium term (Boserup, 1965). However, with AKST, more efficient practices will evolve, in both planning for parenthood and agriculture production, that may in the long term help satisfy food demand locally (Santaniello, 2003). Natural and agricultural resource management

Responsible management of natural resources is the key to attaining sustainable agricultural and rural development. Seeds of various plant varieties are basic to agricultural development, especially for crop breeding programs. Access to high-yielding varieties and a more diversified seed base will potentially increase production efficiency. However, local seed production in the CWANA region is insignificant, and there is extensive reliance on exogenous sources, which are mainly controlled by MNCs and TNCs in this field (CDE, 2002; Buck et al., 2003; Shyamsundar et al., 2005). This will continue at least for the short to the medium term. Moreover, indigenous crop varieties will be dislodged. Some may even eventually become extinct, with adverse implications for agrobiodiversity in the region, implying weaker social and food safety nets for generations to come (Warren and Rajasekaran, 1993; FAO, 1996; Thrupp, 1998; Huang et al., 2002; Howard, 2003).

Productivity will be constrained as a result of the reduced access to indigenous sources of seed caused by scarcity of seed preservation measures, that is, gene banks. In the same vein, the lack of AKST and R&D capacity will limit the plant breeding needed to develop better seed varieties. Furthermore, promoting AKST will help preserve indigenous seeds through gene banks and local knowledge and practices (Ellen et al., 2000; Ellis, 2000; Evenson and Gollin, 2003; UN Millennium Project, 2005).

Commercial fertilizers have made it possible in the twentieth century to dramatically increase the quantity and quality of food produced on agricultural land. The ability of agriculture to produce far greater quantities of food than

in previous centuries can be attributed to four factors: advanced plant breeding techniques, intensive irrigation, availability of fertilizers on a commercial scale and development of plant protection products. With mounting pressure to increase production, more fertilizer will be needed to replenish the organic base of the land resource being depleted. However, no rehabilitation plans are in place to help restore soil fertility in the CWANA region (Scherr, 1999). Most countries of the region produce little fertilizer, and most of the requirements are met through imports, which will ultimately lead to monopoly. Under globalization, falling trade barriers will increaseaccess to fertilizers, and through fair competition fertilizer prices will become cost effective in the long term.

Biodiversity provides not only food and income but also raw materials for clothing, shelter, medicines and breeding of new varieties; it also performs other services such as maintaining soil fertility and biota, and conserving soil and water, all of which are essential for human survival. The importance of agrobiodiversity encompasses sociocultural, economic and environmental elements. All domesticated crops and animals result from human management of biological diversity, which is constantly responding to new challenges to maintain and increase productivity.

The state of biodiversity in agriculture will change as a result of the effect of pesticides on wild species; farmers, the agrofood industry and government will all need to conserve biodiversity. Steps will include adopting integrated pest management (IPM) and making changes in government policies on crop and pesticide inputs and regulations to reduce risk from pesticides. A major challenge for CWANA countries will be to reconcile the desire to expand agricultural production with the obligation to meet national and international objectives and commitments to conserve biodiversity. CWANA countries also need to take into account what agricultural practices cause change in biodiversity in both negative (e.g., excessive farm chemical use) and positive (e.g., creating field margins as wildlife corridors) ways, in particular the effects of different farming practices and management systems (UN, 1992; OECD, 1998, 2005, 2006; Laird, 2004; CBD, 2006).

Deforestation, mostly occurring in developing countries, coupled with overgrazing has led to land erosion and ultimately to desertification in some areas of the region. It is also a major source of global emissions of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. Lack of land rehabilitation plans together with meager investment in this area further exacerbates the situation. Efforts need to be made for integrated rangeland management, which AKST can potentially underpin.

Livestock will continue to be the mainstay of the farming community and will employ a sizeable agricultural workforce in many of the CWANA countries. Poor genetic makeup, limited feed resources and lack of effective animal health cover will continue to be the main constraints for livestock development in the region. Under globalization, and especially through transfer of technology, increased access to quality animal health services and upgrading of genetic livestock material will be possible. However, lack of capacity in CWANA countries will continue to be a limiting factor in the short and medium term (Inter-Academy Council, 2004b; International Council for Science, 2006).