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Agricultural policies contain numerous benefits that it can provide for the region or a nation. Multifunctional, therefore, refers to the non-trade benefits particularly the benefits other than trade and production of food. For instance, these benefits include production of fiber and food, shaping the landscape, providing environmental benefits like conservation of land, the sustainable management of renewable natural resources and biodiversity preservation, contributes to socioeconomic viability of many rural areas. Agricultural practices become multifunctional when it has one or various functions in addition, to its main primary role of food production. Ethics involves making choices and thus agricultural ethics includes choices for individuals dealing in agriculture either directly as farmers, or indirectly as extension agents, researchers or technological developers among others (Maarten & Mandoli, 2003).
In most cases, individuals engaged in agricultural practices whether as producers, administrators, or legislators, all have the belief that they are on high moral ground. This is because they are part of the noblest human aspects to feed the people of the world, thus have moral confidence in their profession and often fail to recognize the importance or examine their choices. Many people have the belief that as long as they have the potential of increasing food availability, then they are not part of the existing process of negotiating and renegotiating the moral bargain. The pesticide manufacturers, the gene clones and the discoverers of the new technologies are not ready to take criticism for their practices because they just assume that they have made the right choices.
There are various reasons as to why we encounter ethical dilemmas and this include the new technologies that have unexpected consequences to the natural environment. For instance, using DDT in large areas assisted in saving peoples lives in areas where mosquitoes spread malaria. However, its accumulation in the food chain causes damage to animals nervous systems human beings included. Another reason for the dilemma is the availability of new ideas, which enter the moral world. For instance, in developed world, old ideas focusing on the treatment of animals and natural environment protection are continuously gaining acceptance. However, even when we do not have the view that the natural environment has rights similar to human creatures, we are slowly adopting the idea that we have to live within the natural laws that rule the earth's ecosystem.
Currently, farmers and consumers have begun to question some new technologies that are being invented. This is especially pest control activities and genetic engineering of crops, with the focus on knowing if they are safe with the health of human creatures, value of the land, and the preservation of the earth's ecosystems. When prices of commodities are low, the consumers benefit. It also safeguards export markets, though our environment and rural areas encounter difficulties from some of the laws that motivate specific agricultural practices. Most of the agricultural practices have negative effects on the natural environment. For instance, fertilizer runoff leads to enormous problems in the riparian systems and cheap meat policies.
Agricultural activities require the replenishment of the natural environment with growing of crops in the fields and trees as well as management of soil erosion, environmental stress reduction and pesticide use control. It should be noted that agriculture is not only about production of food but also about valuing the land, preservation and conservation of the resource base, works health, small biota preservation, the value of the rural area and the value of the agricultural landscape. Therefore, to achieve this, concept of sustainability has to be used because it promotes the development that satisfies the needs of the current generation without compromising the requirements of the future people. It is expedient to make choices that are beneficial in all aspects of life.