Food and better livelihood through poverty alleviation
Brussels, 4 December 2001 - They cultivate honey mandarins, rice and corn, as well as cotton. On tiny plots of land they hold their own against the imponderabilities of nature, droughts and floods, pests and diseases: Many of the 1.8 billion small holders in developing countries are fighting for their livelihoods and often can barely make a living. Harvests are bad, many farmers also lack knowledge and experience on basic agricultural techniques and many of them are food insecure.
Help is needed to improve the livelihoods of small-holder farmers. This is an activity CropLife International and its member companies have been involved in over the past years. To reach the largest possible number of people, the CropLife International organisation cooperates with many stakeholders ranging from farmers, governments and non governmental organisations in the various countries, agricultural cooperatives, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, a specialised UN agency).
CropLife International thus follows an appeal launched by Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who said: "Let us choose to reconcile creative forces of private entrepreneurship with the needs of the disadvantaged and the requirements of future generations".
The positive impact of CropLife International's activities highlighted in the interim results of worldwide projects, approaches and concepts were presented today in Brussels at a press briefing session. Four representatives of developing countries explained how successful the multi-stakeholder approach can be in support of small-holders, their families, the local communities and the many regions in the developing countries. "Increased agricultural production is essential to address the challenges of population growth and poverty" says A. Charles Fischer, President of CropLife International.
Take Malaysia, where back in 1996 a handful of small holders started to cultivate honey mandarins on some 300 hectares of land. Tai Choon Kuah, the project leader, proudly announces that soon over 4000 hectares will be farmed more sustainably than before.
Whether in Latin America, Asia or Africa when the plant science industry initiates sustainable farming projects together with local stakeholders, chances of real achievements are clear. Benefits include:
"All this creates real opportunities for sustainable agriculture" underlines Annik Dollacker of CropLife International, "even in remote rural areas where they previously did not exist. The multi-stakeholder approach shows how much the plant science industry can do for the people and their development: for improved livelihoods, food security and economic growth - if only we work together."
"The multi-stakeholder projects are designed to meet the economic needs of all involved" says Annik Dollacker, "therefore the projects also open up opportunities for further economic development. In the long run the goal of sustainability is best met when all stakeholders benefit from the projects' activities."