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REGIONAL DISPARITIES IN THE LEVEL OF AGRI-ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN SOUTH ASIA: A COMPOSITE INDEX ANALYSIS
  • Mukesh Kumar,
  • Padmini Ravindra Nath
Mukesh Kumar

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Padmini Ravindra Nath
Economics Section, Banaras Hindu University

Abstract

South Asian countries have witnessed a low-level equilibrium trap due to high population and low per capita income growth. The implementation of the intensive agricultural program in the decade of 1960s has brought some level of economic prosperity, poverty reduction, and food security but has also caused regional disparities in terms of economic, agricultural, and environmental outcomes. The Sustainable Development Goals 10 and 15 jointly advocate the adoption of 'sustainable agricultural practices' to reduce intra and inter-country inequalities. It does not only provide healthy food but also promotes racial equity and environmental justice. Therefore, to measure the level of agri-environmental sustainability among South Asian countries, the secondary data on 11 agri-environmental indicators related to the four dimensions of 'agriculture & and environment' were extracted from the World Bank Database. By using them, the 'Composite Index of Agri-environmental Sustainability' has been calculated with the help of the 'Normalized Inverse Euclidean Distance' method suggested by Sharma (2008) at two-time points i.e. 2010 and 2020. The results indicate that there was the presence of a high level of agri-environmental disparity across the regions. It also reveals that between the years 2010 and 2020, agri-environmental sustainability has decreased in Afghanistan and Maldives and has increased in the remaining six countries. Despite some increase in the index value, the intensity of agri-environmental sustainability was below average in both periods. The significant Spearman's rank correlation rho (.738) also describes that the selected countries have shown relatively low progress in terms of agri-environmental sustainability as their respective ranks are highly correlated between both periods of study. Therefore, the government of South Asian countries should effectively implement sustainable agricultural policies to ensure balanced and inclusive growth in the region.
28 Feb 2024Submitted to Advance
27 Mar 2024Published in Advance