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Economic-Ecological Mismatch as Major Cause of Tropical Countries Lagging Behind and Non-sustainable

08 August 2021

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Agus Pakpahan


Tropical countries as developing or poor countries have been very well known. In addition, these countries are also having serious threatening a regional specialized problem namely what the developed countries call it as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD). The latter can be seen as a major direct caused of the low productivity of human resources in the tropics due to high prevalence of infections by NTDs (Mitra and Mawson, 2017; Tan,, 2014).


The nature of the tropics such as high level of humidity in combination with high level of temperature is also the main cause of lower productivity of agriculture (Gallup and Sachs, 2000)2 in producing sufficient food for such countries due to high intensity of pests and diseases in agricultural processes (Thurston,1984) since up-streams into down-streams. Such problems are reinforced by high number and density of their human population in this climatic region. Furthermore, the existence of sun rise every day across all seasons is responsible for high degree of biological diversities in this region.


Up to present time most of analysts have seen that those tropical natures are developmental problems. Unfortunately, the solutions that have been applied are the solutions which are fit for temperate ones. For example, tropical countries which are endowed by high biodiversity level of plants and animals and microorganisms as well are induced to be more and more dependent on fewer and fewer plant, animal and microorganism species. For example, most of Indonesian are depending on rice, corn and other very few plant species. In fact, tropical countries are more and more dependent on type of food resources such as wheat or soybeans for major food which are imported from temperate or developed countries agriculture. This trend is so called westernization of Asian diet (Fabiosa, 2005; Pingali, 2004). This situation can be named as economic-ecological mismatch. The continuation of this mismatch will be threatening the future global sustainability achievement.


The other economic-ecological mismatch can also be found in the agricultural production processes in tropical countries. At on-farm level, which is related with plant and animal species selection in agricultural production and with inducement of technological advancement associated with Green Revolution, then the previous traditional local genius agricultural production by using the advantage of tropical natures have been replaced by modern-temperate way of agricultural thinking. Modern agriculture is characterized by intensive use of chemical elements in the agricultural production process such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Such highly intensive uses of intensive chemical inputs in agriculture have reach a situation that have been threatening the environments where all organisms, including human being, living in this planet (Galloway, and Cowling, 2002; Erisman and Galloway, 2015).


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