Crop Biotech Update

Smallholder Farmers Key to Help LA Economies Recover from Global Crisis

June 18, 2009

The food crisis and the present financial crunch have hit Latin America and the Caribbean regions. National economic performance showed a drop of 1.5 percent in 2009. On this issue, Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) commented that, "the financial crisis demands short-term measures, accompanied by a long-term vision, to protect vulnerable rural households."  In Brazil for example, smallholder farmers form the majority of the 4 million farmers. Farm production is mostly at subsistence levels and family agriculture accounts for 70 per cent of the country's food production and a significant share of food exports.

Nwanze stressed that there is immense untapped potential in the rural people who live in the mountains, valleys, hills and plains of Latin America and the Caribbean, and they need to be provided with farm inputs, financial resources, and access to local and international markets and know-how.  He also added that "farmers in the region not only have the capacity to grow themselves out of the current recession, but also can contribute significantly to the recovery of their national economies."

For details, see press release at: http://www.ifad.org/media/press/2009/31.htm