11 June 2003, Tumba (Sweden)/Rome
-- The private sector must become a driving force in an
international alliance against hunger, the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today, urging closer
collaboration between business, governments and international
"The private sector
must develop a greater social conscience and a sense of
corporate responsibility, and with them a structured means of
channelling the power within its grasp to those who lack
it," said FAO Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf,
addressing an international dairy development conference
attended by industrialists, scientists and market experts.
Dr. Diouf challenged business at all levels
to become actively involved in helping humanity progress towards
eradicating hunger, "The private sector must become a
key player by providing simple, sustainable technologies that
will enable rural communities to create jobs, raise incomes and
reduce poverty," he said.
percent of the world's poor and hungry live in the
developing world, mostly in rural areas. Rome-based FAO aims to
improve the livelihoods of rural people by promoting
agricultural development, improved nutrition and food security.
But Dr. Diouf said that no single
organization was capable, single-handedly, of meeting the
challenge of feeding the planet's 840 million hungry and
that public and private sectors must join forces with national
and international organizations.
at the dairy development conference, jointly presented by
international milking technology company DeLaval and FAO, Dr.
Diouf said that the private sector, recognizing the economic
growth potential of developing countries, could share the same
development goals as the UN.
"We must be willing to share
responsibilities, risks and resources to achieve shared
objectives," Dr. Diouf told delegates assembled in the
Swedish town of Tumba, some 50 kilometres south of the
meeting international targets to halve the number of hungry by
2015, agreed during two World Food Summits in 1996 and 2002, was
not unacceptable, Dr. Diouf warned. At the present rate the goal
would only be achieved by 2150, he said.
There was now both a moral imperative and an economic
obligation, he said, to build a joint coalition, where
international organizations, governments and the private sector
work side by side to span the divide between rich and poor.
"If the 840 million hungry people
were to become consumers with real buying power, what a market
for industrial goods and services from developed
countries!" Diouf said.
Dairy for development
Dr. Diouf said the dairy sector was just one
illustration of how the needs of the private sector overlapped
with the aims of the UN.
development of the dairy sector in poorer countries responded to
the area's increasing appetite for milk as well as
providing an immediate source of revenue, employment and food
for developing countries.
"Churning out a few thousand litres of milk a
day, a single small-scale dairy in a poor country can provide
income for 400 families," Dr. Diouf said.
Anders Fagerberg of DeLaval agreed. "Milk
production provides steady jobs for rural people because it is,
by nature, a daily activity," he said.
"Poverty elimination must come through
progress. We hope to create customers for the future and that
will only happen if we can help them become successful milk
producers, which in turn means that they will provide people
with the nutrition needed for true development," he
Opportunities by the
Dr. Diouf said the role
of business in development had been transformed over the past
"The private sector
brings with it a broad range of expertise -- in management,
policy, technology and marketing as well as project funding and
investment finance," Dr. Diouf said, adding that
DeLaval had already taken the initiative, providing financial
support to FAO's school milk promotion programme and
investing in simple, sustainable technologies for the developing
Official development assistance
continues to fall, with the proportion of support provided to
agriculture and rural development plummeting by around 50
percent between 1990 and 2000, according to FAO.
"Each and every farmer in the OECD countries
is given an average of 12 000 dollars a year in support whilst
farmers in developing countries receive just 6 dollars per
farmer per year," Dr. Diouf said. "Support to
protect the few prevents market access for the benefit of the
majority," he added.
FAO has clear
guidelines and policies on private sector collaboration to
ensure the process remains transparent.
DeLaval is a global leader in milking technology with
operations in 36 countries, covering 115 markets including many
across the developing world.
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570