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Cash Crops, Food Crops and Agricultural Sustainability

Edward B. Barbier

Report/paper, 9 pages

A frequently heard criticism of policies to promote export crop production in the Third World is that export-oriented agricultural development is less environmentally sustainable than food production for domestic consumption. However recent evidence suggests that the main obstacle to sustainable agricultural development is the failure of any economic policy, whether promoting food crops or exports, to address adequately problems of natural resource management. Policies to achieve food self-sufficiency may therefore be neither inherently more nor inherently less environmentally sustainable than export-oriented agricultural development.

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