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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Business & Industry

Business and Industry Statement
To the IPM for CSD-17
on Land
February 25, 2009
Madame Chairperson,
I am Morgane Danielou, speaking on behalf of the Business and Industry group.
Safeguarding natural resources such as land and water requires specialized
knowledge among regulators, farmers, and conservationists. There are important
techniques such conservation tillage (as mentioned by Canada and the United
States) that can dramatically decrease soil erosion and improve soil health. Good
agricultural practices such as integrated crop management and better irrigation
systems are important steps to be taken by farmers and farm workers. Careful,
sustainable intensification of farm productivity helps avoid encroachment into wildlife
habitat and protects biodiversity. Such strategies are furthered when they are
integrated into an ecosystems and watershed approach by local and national
Legitimate access to land improves the capacity of smallholders to steward land.
When given the confidence, long term interest, and credit resources of land tenure
farmers have a meaningful incentive to make the right decisions for their land. Good
regulatory frameworks such as tenure rights and use protocols are important in all
countries and in some areas must be established or reformed to be functional,
particularly for women. Access to other resources, such as knowledge of good
stewardship techniques, and inputs requires collaboration along the supply chain and
with all stakeholders in rural areas, such as agro-dealers and extension workers.
To also comment on rural development: successful experiences, such as that of the
partnership between CNFA and the government of Malawi could be replicated. CNFA
established credit insurance in 2001 in Malawi to guarantee repayment of half of the
money borrowed by agricultural input retailers to stock their shops. This greatly
expanded the number of rural distributors and decreased the distances farmers
travelled to obtain inputs, resulting in savings in both time and travel costs. By 2005,
retailers covered by the guarantees had earned more than $1 million and their
success boosted local economies. They also join extension workers as a critical
source of best practice information for famers and farm workers.
In addition, farmers not only need to produce, they need to be able to sell their
products. Building corridors for development can be a successful strategy that allows
rational investment in infrastructure and links farmers to markets. This means
focusing on the building of ports, railroads, storage facilities along geographically
determined lines that tie in actors along the value chain and help bring farmers?
products to local, regional and global markets. Development corridors are being
created in Mozambique for instance and could be expanded regionally.
Market access is also about adding value to agricultural products, for example
through marketing initiatives. Creating and sustaining rural development is an
essential component of promoting sustainable development. It requires better access
to local, regional and international markets; training, credit, and quality inputs for
farmers. It requires more integrated value chains and support for creating brands
and strategies for accessing markets.
These proposals follow the principles of Farming First, a 6 point action plan
supported by business and industry, the scientists, and farmers groups.
Thank you Madame Chairperson.
Farming First
Safeguarding natural resources - furthering widespread adoption of sustainable
practices of water and land use, such as conservation technology.
Sharing knowledge - while much knowledge to improve global agriculture already
exists it often does not reach those farmers who could benefit most. Programs like
village-based knowledge centre help.
Building local access - fundamental resources should be available to farmers to
help them manage their production process more reliably, including mechanical
tools, seed, fertilizer, and crop protection.
Protecting harvest - in many of the poorest countries, 20-40% of crop yields are
lost because of inadequate pre- and post-harvest support. Likewise, vast quantities
of food are squandered during production and consumption phases of the food chain.
Enable access to markets - farmers need to be able to get their products to
market and receive equitable price treatment when they do by getting information
like up-to-date market pricing even in remote areas.
Prioritise research imperatives - achieving sustainable agriculture requires
intensified, continuous research, prioritising locally relevant crops, stewardship
techniques, and adaptation to climate change.