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The State of Food and Agriculture 2007

Paying Farmers for Environmental Services

image of The State of Food and Agriculture 2007

The State of Food and Agriculture 2007 explores the potential for agriculture to provide enhanced levels of environmental services alongside the production of food and fibre. The report concludes that demand for environmental services from agriculture – including climate change mitigation, improved watershed management and biodiversity preservation – will increase in the future, but better incentives to farmers are needed if agriculture is to meet this demand.

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Implications for poverty

There are considerable expectations that PES programmes can contribute to poverty reduction as well as to improved environmental management. These expectations are largely based on actual or perceived links between poverty and environmental management. If poverty – which may be defined as lack of income or assets, vulnerability or powerlessness – is a major cause of environmental degradation, then paying poor producers to adopt more environmentally friendly systems of production would appear likely to generate a “win–win” outcome resulting in both poverty reduction and environmental benefits. There are, indeed, many situations in which this is likely to be the case.

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