India to host global conference on farm industries

February 21st, 2008 - 6:36 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) India will host the first global conference on farm industries being organised by various UN organisations here April 8-11, to promote the sector as the major means to end poverty and push development. Some 500 senior experts from the agro-industry, governments, civil society, UN agencies and funding institutions will discuss the potential of agro-industries and the challenges they face in the future, the organisers said.

The Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization are co-organising the conference in collaboration with the Government of India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to inaugurate the forum, together with the chiefs of these UN agencies.

“Rapid globalisation, market liberalisation and urbanisation have created new opportunities for countries to trade agricultural and food products,” said the organisers ahead of the conference.

“But they have also created challenges and increased risks. Countries with inefficient agro-industries are likely to be left behind those with modern and efficient agro-industries,” they said in a statement.

“While high-income countries add, on an average, $180 of value by processing one tonne of agricultural products, developing countries generate only $40 of value per tonne.”

Accordingly, increasing market opportunities particularly for small producers in rural areas, by improving production, processing and marketing capabilities will be one of the main issues of the conference.

“Delivering better products at lower prices could be beneficial for poor consumers and could also create employment opportunities.”

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