27 November 2008
Re-issued as received
Innovative Solutions for Agribusiness
VIENNA, 27 November (UN Information Service) - Agribusiness stakeholders, representatives of public and private technical and financial institutions, international organizations, donors, NGOs and academia from various countries presented over 120 new solutions at the UNIDO International Conference on Sharing Innovative Agribusiness Solutions. The Conference, which opened in Cairo yesterday, concluded today with a strong emphasis on practical solution sharing and matchmaking.
In the context of the global food crisis, innovation in agribusiness - one of the main drivers of sustainable development- is imperative. The solutions showcased at the Conference are already being successfully implemented and replicated in other developing countries. Of these, fifteen were short-listed for their innovative character and their potential to help developing countries attract agribusiness-related investments. Numerous interactive sessions gave valuable insight on relevant issues such as supply and value chains, market access and linkages, compliance with standards and conformity assessment, technology and value addition, and innovative forms of financing.
Yoshi Uramoto, Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said: "The conference will also provide opportunities for matchmaking and networking between those participants who are seeking ways to achieve sustainable agribusiness development and those with innovative solutions, as well as those with financing for development assistance and investment."
In addition to parallel sessions and discussions on main agribusiness topics, a matchmaking event was organized by the UNIDO Investment Promotion Unit (IPU) in Egypt. This brought together more than 110 companies interested in replicating innovative agribusiness solutions. Over 350 bilateral meetings were organized and potential partners found common interest in access to finance, technology transfer and trade capacity building. Marco Potecchi, Head of the IPU, said that "this event is just the starting point. Our job is to make sure that the expressions of interest result in concrete cooperation".
"We are overwhelmed by the positive responses to the Conference", said Gerardo Patacconi, Chief of the Productivity, Quality and Enterprise Upgrading Unit in UNIDO and main organizer. "Over 400 participants attended the two-day session, and over 120 solutions from over 65 countries were presented. We started a process that was widely acclaimed; now, UNIDO and its partners will actively ensure that these and more similar innovative solutions are implemented, also through the identification of financing, for companies to realize all their potential".
At the closing ceremony, awards were given to the best innovative solutions, based on peer selections. Winners included ITC Limited from India (to provide updated information on crops for remote Indian villages), the UK's COLEACP-PIP (to enable compliance solutions for the export of fruits and vegetables), Passive Refrigeration from Italy (to maintain the cold chain from farms to markets) and Sri Lanka's Cargills (Ceylon) Ltd (to link small farmers directly to markets). Special awards were given to the SEKEM farm (for ecologically responsible development in Egypt), the Songhai Centre in Benin (for holistic agricultural development) and UNIDO's ETRACE programme (to establish an effective traceability system for Egyptian producers).
UNIDO is a specialized agency of the United Nations system that works towards improving the quality of life of the world's poor by helping countries achieve sustainable industrial development. UNIDO views industrial development as a means of creating employment and income to overcome poverty. It helps developing countries and economies in transition to produce goods they can trade on the global market. It also helps provide the tools - training, technology, and investment - to make them competitive. At the same time, it encourages production processes that will neither harm the environment nor place too heavy a burden on a country's limited energy resources. UNIDO has 172 Member States and has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. See also www.unido.org
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