Special Programme:
key principles





National ownership
The programme belongs to, and is the responsibility of, the participating countries. Its success depends on the willingness of governments to establish a political, social and economic climate conducive to agricultural growth. This means adopting appropriate policies and regulations, providing training, extension and information services, and investing in research, roads and irrigation.

Focus on areas and foods with high potential
Areas known to have good possibilities for increased productivity will be targeted in order to realize yield potential effectively with little risk. Priority will be given to increasing the production of staple food crops - mainly cereals, roots and tubers - but other foods suited to local conditions and markets will also be included as part of an integrated farming systems approach. These could include pulses, fruit, vegetables, poultry, livestock and fish.

The profitability of an investment in food production is an important criterion for selecting areas and foods for Special Programme attention. Essentially, this means that prices received by farmers for the commodities they produce must more than cover their costs.

Participatory philosophy
All those who have a role to play, whether at the local, national, regional or international level, will be involved in the Special Programme in order to ensure success. Typical participants will be: government officials of both recipient and donor countries; scientists; extension workers; private traders and entrepreneurs; experts from intergovernmental agencies and NGOs; and, perhaps most important of all, the farmers themselves. Care will be taken to avoid the exclusion of any social group or the creation of inequalities.

Environmental awareness
Biological diversity, natural resources and the existing ecosystem will be protected by promoting production techniques that do not harm the environment and by reducing pressure on marginal areas with low potential which are often ecologically vulnerable.

Regard for the role of women
Particular attention will be paid to involve women, whose important role in food crop production in the LIFDCs as farmers and agricultural workers has often been overlooked in the past.

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