UN agency for trade and development calls for boosting agriculture

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Boost support for small farmers – UNCTAD

The United Nations agency dealing with trade and development is calling for boosting agriculture in both rich and poor countries.

In its Trade and Environment Report 2013, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, (UNCTAD) recommends that farming in all countries should shift from monoculture towards a greater variety of crops.

UNCTAD also calls for reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs and greater support for small-scale farmers.

Ulrich Hoffmann, Senior Trade Policy Adviser at UNCTAD's Division on International Trade says the first key question which arises is 'where are the world's hungry and how can the hunger problem be overcome?'

"Eighty per cent of the world's hungry live in rural areas. Fifty per cent of the world's hungry are small farmers and almost 90 per cent of the world's hungry are in Asia, primarily in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. So the hunger problem is, in principle a rural problem and it is a problem, to a large extent, of farmers who lack the means to produce sufficient food or to produce to have sources of income to buy food." (28")

Mr. Hoffmann also points out that roughly 70 per cent of the food globally is produced by small producers, not international supply chains which, he says, play a supplementary role.

What is also important to recall, he adds, is that small farmers are a key source of employment and income.

According to Mr. Hoffmann, even a country as industrialized as China, between 600 and 700 million people, which is twice the population of Europe, are dependent on agriculture.

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration:  1’32″

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