Agriculture is the direct or indirect livelihood of three quarters of the planet’s poor, who live in rural areas.
The 2008 food crisis and the following international monetary crisis, showed the intense vulnerability of developing countries to fluctuations in food prices and supplies.
But the impact wasn’t solely on developing world farmers – it affected consumers world-wide in food scarcities, eg rice in Thailand, and higher prices.
In Nov 2008 Egypt – UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) sponsored the primary ever international conference on Sharing Innovative Agribusiness Solutions – From Farms to Markets: Providing Apprehend-how and Finance.
If the conference activities will be sustained it’s an initiative that might doubtless benefit small farmers in developing world, shoppers everywhere and the planet as a whole.
“Our vision is sustainable development”
In his opening speech Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, Founding father of SEKEM said that Sustainable development may satisfy our wants and aspirations while not decreasing the chances for future generations……however that we want to find out the fundamental principals of ecology.
“….. Being ecologically literate means that understanding the principles of organisations of ecological communities including our academic com?munities, political and business communities. So that principles of education, management and politics embrace the principles of ecology.”
A little about SEKEM
In 1977 the economic and social hardship of his countrymen galvanised Social Entrepreneur and medical doctor Dr Abouleish into shopping for seventy hectares of desert scrubland, sixty km north-east of Cairo and close to the River Nile.
He referred to as the new experimental farm there SEKEM – from Ancient Egyptian: “vitality from the sun”.
SEKEM was able to rework the desert into a showcase example of sustainable agriculture and a healthy ecosystem through biodynamic farming methods.
Its efforts in organic cultivation led to the conversion of the whole Egyptian cotton industry to organic methods.
Beginning off with a dairy and crop farm, SEKEM soon began to provide herbal teas and to market its biodynamic manufacture in Europe. This initiative helped alternative farms in Egypt to modify to biodynamic farming. A half of its combine of activities the farm uses bio-fertilizers.
The 2008 Cairo conference brought along over 400 agribusiness stakeholders from a lot of than sixty five countries, as well as representatives of private and public institutions (technical and money), international organizations, donor countries, civil society, universities and research institutions to share innovative agribusiness solutions
Topics covered offer/worth chains, market access and linkages, Compliance with standards and conformity assessment, Technology and price addition and Innovative varieties of financing
Participants were enthusiastic regarding working together to attain change. central to the talk were “Innovation and opportunity”, “partnerships based on trust” and “the necessity for commitment”, also the need for a holistic approach to agriculture taking into consideration the needs of specific groups, and avoiding the error of thinking that “one size fits all”.
Four key problems were identified:
1. Money: small producers need finance to bridge the gap between initial costs and eventual benefits to help them enhance their productivity and agricultural product distribution.
2. Up to date info: small farmers and SMEs would like access to up-to-date market data to enable them to compete effectively in local, regional and international markets.
One example cited was an Indian project, an e-Choupal (“choupal” means gathering place in Hindi) programme that places computers with internet access in rural farming villages; e-Choupals acted as both a social gathering place for exchange of knowledge and an e-commerce hub.
3. Investment in offer-chain infrastructure: Governments, the food industry, agribusiness and client goods retailers need to invesr in offer-chain infrstructures, that have a long economic life.
e-Choupal had a task here too: Out of an initial effort to re-engineer the procurement method for soy, tobacco, wheat, shrimp and alternative cropping systems in rural India grew a highly profitable distribution and products design channel for the corporate – an e-commerce platform and also an occasional-price fulfilment system targeted on the specific desires of rural India
4. Use of technology: using technological understand-howfor improving yields, includingbio-fertilizers applied as soil or seed inoculants and foliar spray, reduction of post-harvest losses through better product preservation techniques, quality preservation processes and innovative ingredients to cut back microbial and toxin contamination, increased price-potency connected to local production, collective brands and quality criteria enhancement to strengthen tiny-scale producers, packaging technology and economical logistics.
A range of follow-up activities was reportedly initiated, together with a new project (supported by the Italian Development Cooperation) to increase ETRACE(UNIDO’s Egyptian Traceability Centre for Agro-Industrial Exports) activities and facilitate other developing countries to ascertain similar centres. BOLA TANGKAS