Resources Technology and Environment in Agricultural Development

Crosson, P. (1979). Resources Technology and Environment in Agricultural Development. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-79-103

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IIASA's Food and Agriculture Program is undertaking research on a complex set of issues grouped under the title: "Limits and Consequences of Food Production Technologies". The fundamental question addressed in this research is "what long-term technical development paths are feasible and likely for increasing food production, based on the present availability of resources (including energy), the long-run feedback on the environment, and the short-run pressures reflected in current agricultural policies".

The objective of the research on this set of issues is to construct a model, or family of models, which will increase understanding of the resources-technology-environment (R-T-E) system in agricultural production, thus providing guidance to policies to make the system more serviceable in meeting rising world demands for food. As indicated in the quoted statement, the focus is on the behavior of the R-T-E system over the long-term. It is not necessary for our purposes to define the long-term precisely, but we think of it as a period of 2 to 3 decades.

The aim of this paper is to provide an intellectual background that will be useful to the modeling effort. To this end the paper seeks to identify the principal elements in the R-T-E system, to describe the relationships among these elements, and to analyze the forces which move and modify the system through time.

Throughout the analysis major emphasis is given to the role of relative prices of agricultural resources as signals to farmers of relative resource scarcity. This reflects the author's orientation and training, but it means that the analysis is not directly applicable to centrally planned economies. Farmers in those economies will feel many of the same sorts of resource pressures as farmers in market economies -- for example, the increasing cost of energy -- but the indication of those pressures and the modes of response to them are different. This limitation of the analysis should be kept in mind.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Food and Agriculture (FAG)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:46
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:09

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