DuPont presses UN on agricultural aid policies

21 May 2008 15:53  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--DuPont wants the UN to prioritise technology and related aid to farmers in developing countries to help address the global food supply crisis, a top company executive said.

 

"Agriculture must be higher on our agenda in a world of increasing food demands and shrinking resources," said DuPont group vice president James Borel in a statement published on Wednesday.

 

He was addressing a special UN meeting in New York on the food crisis on Tuesday, speaking on behalf of the private sector for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

 

"Farmers and agri-businesses are the engines that will enable increases in productivity,” he said. "I assure you that the private sector and the 1.3bn farmers around the world are eager to help and are committed to being a part of the solution."

 

Borel outlined some solutions that business and industry believed would increase productivity and help alleviate poverty and hunger.

 

These included programmes to encourage research and the dissemination of technologies and techniques for sustainable agriculture and water management, as well as increased stewardship training in agricultural best practices at the local level.

 

Also, the UN needed to help developing countries in establishing secure land tenure and recognise female landowners, he said.

 

"Women play a key role across sectors and at all levels of society," Borel said. "Their contributions must be recognised."

 

"As we address the short-term needs, do not repeat the mistakes of the past 20 years when agriculture received little policy attention or investment in the areas where it was needed most," he added.

 

In a related statement, the ICC urged governments to make major investments in agriculture to increase productivity while enhancing biodiversity on farms. 

 

Where necessary, governments needed to put in place an institutional framework that supported business investment in sustainable agricultural technologies and practices, it added. 

 

“A one-size-fits-all solution does not exist, but there are many effective strategies and they must be supported and replicated to become part of the agricultural mainstream,” said ICC secretary-general Guy Sebban.

 

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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