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Borel at United Nations: Break Barriers, Help Farmers


DuPont Group Vice President Jim Borel told a United Nations (UN) special meeting in New York yesterday that the public and private sectors must act quickly to knock down barriers and help small-scale farmers in the developing world move out of poverty.

Speaking on behalf of industry for the International Chamber of Commerce at the UN Special Meeting of the Economic and Social Council, Jim said that lack of access to credit and insurance, regulatory constraints, limited product and agronomic knowledge, and lack of secure land tenure are blocking small-scale farmers’ access to critical improved agricultural inputs that are common in the developed world.

“From seeds to fertilizers, farmers need access to high-quality agricultural inputs to increase their productivity and move past subsistence farming in a sustainable manner,” Jim said. “In 2008, farmers in developing countries should not be producing at 20 percent of the production of farmers in the developing world. The good news is that every single one of the limitations can be overcome.”

Jim provided examples of how the private sector is working with local governments and farmers in Malawi, Ethiopia and in India to provide insurance, quality inputs and agronomic advice to farmers to encourage investment and expanded development. “Programs like these need to be replicated and scaled up,” he said.

“Access to secure land tenure continues to be a disincentive for production in many countries,” Jim added, “particularly for women. Farmers’ capacity to increase productivity is contingent on their access to secure land tenure.”

“We have the technologies and expertise to equip small-scale farmers with the resources they need to help themselves and society. And linking these producers with markets is crucial to paving a path out of poverty.”


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