Unsustainable economic conditions and farming practices have reduced 80 per cent of the total surface area of the southern Argentine state of Patagonia -- once prime grazing land for sheep -- to deserts. This has forced thousands of small farmers to migrate to the cities.
The genesis of the problem can be traced to the uncontrolled breeding of sheep by the region's farmers in an effort to produce the largest possible yields of meat and wool, regardless of the depredation of the soil that it engendered. Over-intensive grazing accelerated desertification, reduced the livestock and drastically pruned the employment opportunities.
In 1992, the National Institute of Technical Education, in collaboration with the German agency gtz, invested us $2 million in the first stage of a project to stem the tide of desertification. The next stage envisages erosion control schemes in 4 selected areas and trial projects in small scale agriculture.(ips)
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.