Agricultural chemicals - How much input is required, how much is too much?

More than 40 years after the onset of the Green Revolution, the use of chemicals in developing country agriculture continues to be intensively debated. How much chemical use is needed? Are there cost-effective alternatives that contribute to rural poverty reduction?
Dr Gerd Fleischer
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Eschborn, Germany


Rural Economic Development, Volume 13 No 1/2006
Agricultural Trade - Microfinance - Safe Use of Chemicals

Agricultural Trade

Key agricultural trade issues for ACP countries - The way forward after Hong Kong

While the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong in December 2005 was reported as a modest but significant step in the current trade negotiations process, establishing detailed modalities especially in agriculture by the end of April 2006 remains the major challenge for WTO members. The achievement of the objectives of the Doha Development Agenda will mainly depend on the willingness of the so-called G4 (EU, USA, Brazil, India) to take into account the needs of the poorest countries. As part of the 90ACP countries will have to continue pushing their own trade agenda with the current EPA negotiations with the EU.
Vincent Fautrel
CTA - Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU
Wageningen, The Netherlands

The WTO negotiations: What interests are the OECD countries pursuing?

The WTO negotiations are a difficult balancing act between mercantilism and rational policy reform. Some OECD countries still tend to rely on traditional price support policies. Insight is growing - albeit gradually - that this agricultural policy approach has substantial disadvantages as it primarily benefits large-scale agricultural producers and impacts adversely on the environment, to say nothing of substantially distorting international markets.*
Professor Dr Stefan Tangermann
Director for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Paris, France

WTO and the real interest of OECD Member Countries - The viewpoint of a developing country

For developing countries, in particular African countries, the consequences of economic liberalization in the context of WTO are reduced income for producers and, therefore, increased poverty.This situation largely results from the dumping of OECD member countries and the heavy dependence on basic commodities whose prices continue to fall.
Sériba Ouattara
Director General - Ministère du Commerce et la promotion de l'entreprise et de l'artisanat
Ouagadougou 02 - Burkina Faso

The small farmer on the way to the Global Market - The case of Kenya

The case of Kenya's external trade policy is designed to create a conducive environment for the promotion of its products on the international markets, especially those of developed countries such as the EU, America and Japan and also within Africa.The neighbouring East and Southern African countries (COMESA, 21 countries) remain Kenya's major export destination for manufactured goods, while the European Union remains Kenya's major destination for agricultural exports in which the smallholder farmers are involved. Major export crops are cut flowers, tea, leguminous vegetables, coffee and fruits.
Agayo Ogambi
Manager, Trade Point Kenya
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nairobi, Kenya

Value-added chains and agricultural trade

Advocates of free trade anticipate benefits from globalisation for developing countries. However, an export-led agricultural growth strategy does not necessarily generate positive impacts.This article reviews the conditions under which new opportunities deriving from agricultural trade liberalization may be utilized to advance development.
DrHelmut Albert

DrAndreas Springer-Heinze
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische
Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Eschborn, Germany

What do liberalized agricultural markets mean for food-importing developing countries?

World agricultural prices are forecasted to increase by an average of 10 percent as a result of the WTO's complete liberalisation of international agricultural trade.This is bad news for food importing developing countries. However, the 86 low-income countries with food deficits are a heterogeneous group. Thus, to make targeted policy recommendations, countries need to be classified in line with their degree of vulnerability.
Dr.Ulrike Grote
Center for Development Research (ZEF)
Bonn, Germany

Dr. Peter Wobst
Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC/IPTS)
Seville, Spain

Food-importing countries in liberalized world trade. The rice market in Senegal.

In the debate about the impact of world trade and the WTO on agricultural exports from developing countries, the fact that many of these countries are also major importers of agricultural products is often forgotten. Indeed, most of Africa's poorest countries are net importers of agricultural products, and the trend is increasing.The reasons are highly diverse and can be due to both internal and external factors.
Michael Brüntrup
Christian Kaps
German Development Institute - DIE
Bonn, Germany


Small investment, great effect. Using microfinance to move out of poverty.

The United Nations declared 2005 the year of microcredit. This was a call for easier access to financial services, particularly for the urban and rural poor. Microfinance is an effective tool for reducing poverty and a priority sector of German development cooperation.
Ulrike Haupt
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Bonn, Germany

Agricultural banks: Ignore them, close them or reform them?

During the 1960s, state agricultural banks that offered subsidized targeted credit were considered to be a major tool for modernisation in developing countries. When the experiment failed, donors such as the World Bank and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation, acting through KfW Development Bank, phased out their support around 1980. Since then, various other types of rural financial institutions have emerged in many countries.What are the prospects for agricultural banks in a market-led financial system? Should they be closed, reformed or simply ignored?
Professor Dr Hans Dieter Seibel
University of Cologne
Cologne, Germany

Financing in rural areas. Microcredit at its limits.

«A worrying scenario is emerging, with credit fleeing rural areas». This is how a famous 1950s article on agriculture begins. It was not describing Africa or Latin America, but Germany.The issue is not a new one in the development of financial systems, but it remains unresolved in the development policy context.
Thorsten Giehler
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Financial Systems Development Section
Eschborn, Germany

In demand: Technical and institutional innovations. Sustainable microfinance for rural areas.

«Pushing the frontier of finance». Almost two decades on, this slogan by von Pischke of Ohio State University is still relevant. Concepts for the sustainable provision of microfinance already exist in urban areas, but the majority of the rural population in developing and transition countries has only very limited access to financial services. Yet most people live in rural areas.
Dr Konrad Ellsässer
Finances pour le développement économique & social (FIDES)
Montpellier, France

Which institutions are financing the rural areas? Rabobank as partner in rural development.

With over 100 years of experience offering financial services to rural areas, Rabobank established the Rabobank Development Program to share its expertise with financial institutions in developing countries and emerging markets. Within this program, Rabobank has assisted in the restructuring and improvement of rural financial institutions. Rabobank is able to take equity stakes in rural-related financial institutions and also provides grants and advisory
Josien Sluijs
Rabo International Advisory Services BV (RIAS)
Utrecht, The Netherlands

German savings banks get involved in development cooperation. Social responsibility and profitability.

Innovative approaches in the financial sector need not necessarily be new.Very often, tried and tested methods and principles can be adapted to provide modern solutions.This also applies to microfinance in developing countries. In Germany an independent structure within the financial sector has developed over the past 200 years: the Sparkassen and cooperative banks combine social responsibility with profitable business and number among the world's first microfinance institutions (MFIs).
Dr Peter Langkamp
Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation (Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation)
Bonn, Germany

Remittances from abroad: Great potential for development and poverty reduction

«The poor and the money they send home are keeping the Honduran economy afloat» says Cardinal Andrés C. Rodriguez, board member of FOSDEH (Foro Social de la Deuda Externa y Desarrollo de Honduras). He was referring to the remittances (remesas) - money transfers from migrants to their families back home - that are now one of the largest factors in Honduras' gross domestic product. Although there has been little coordinated use of these payments for poverty reduction, the idea is being widely discussed in the International Year of Microcredit 2005.
Julia Schönhärl
Kirchdorf, Germany
(The author worked for the German Development Service - DED - in Honduras until April 2005)

Safe Use of Chemicals

Chemicals for the poorest - hazard or chance?

In developing countries, chemicals are always handled by the poorest and least educated.Theirs are the most dangerous jobs. Conditions are worst in small, informal workshops, dyeing works, tanneries and carpet and textiles factories, which often employ children, and in agriculture, where hired hands apply hazardous plant protectants.
Georg vom Kolke
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Environment and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources Division
Bonn, Germany

Dr Matthias Kern
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Convention Project Chemical Safety
Bonn, Germany

International conventions and their implementation in national law. Taking the first steps towards a toxics-free world.

The uncontrolled use of chemicals still jeopardizes the life and health of millions of people in urban and rural areas of developing countries. The United Nations are trying, by means of various agreements, to regulate the trade in and use of hazardous chemicals. Now the challenge is to transpose these agreements into national law and thus bring them to life. For many developing countries, this is a major undertaking.
Dr Ralph Ahrens
Cologne, Germany

Better training reduces risks. Chemicals management: What dialogue and training can achieve.

Data published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) indicate that 70 percent of fatal accidents in developing countries are associated with agricultural chemicals. Women are particularly exposed to the risks of handling plant protection products. International conventions aim to create the framework conditions necessary for the safe management of chemicals. Their implementation is supported by international training that raises awareness and builds institutional capacities.
Dr Bruno Schuler
InWEnt - Capacity Building International, Germany
Division for Rural Development, Food and Consumer Protection
Feldafing, Germany

Fair trade and environmental standards. Organic fair trade products triumph in European markets.

Fair trade in agricultural products from developing countries is subject to strict quality and social standards, which are also geared strongly towards organic production.The great success of fairly traded organic products on European markets in the last few years is encouraging farmers in producer countries to dispense with mineral fertilizers and pesticides.
Tina Gordon
Protestant Churches Fair Trade Coordination Centre
EED / Bread for the World
Bonn, Germany