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World Bank highlights need to address agri-based pollution

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THE WORLD BANK said governments should develop ways to measure agriculture-based pollution as well as provide incentives to farmers to minimize their impact on the environment.

In statement Friday, World Bank Vice-President for East Asia and Pacific Victoria Kwakwa said public policy and spending should be geared towards curbing pollution to protect both farmers and consumers.

The bank was citing the findings of a report, “The Challenge of Agricultural Pollution: Evidence from China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.”

It said apart from investing in the monitoring of agricultural pollution, governments should “indirectly shape consumer preferences and behavior and enable consumers to have a greater influence on production patterns and the farm sector’s trajectory.”

World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development Laura Tuck said that while the three countries are approaching total food security, growth in the agricultural sector has also produced greater air, soil and water pollution.

“Investing in the prevention and control of pollution is key to ensuring that development gains in agriculture are sustainable,” she added.

“Good pollution control policies and measures can increase the profitability of agriculture and spur the development of a competitive food industry while enhancing human and environmental health.”

The study highlighted the excessive use of fertilizer and pesticide which affected the quality of soil and water, leading to “reduced the quality and safety of food.”

Improper waste management was also a significant factor in the livestock industry.

It said the Philippines did not have a national agency that “systematically collects and monitors the application of pesticides to crops.”

The World Bank in the same statement said that it committed to funding irrigation projects and training rice farmers to conserve water and energy while increasing their yields.

In partnership with Carbon Fund, the World Bank also hopes to reduce methane emissions from pig farms. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato