UN official urges responsible investment in agriculture in poorer countries

26 April 2010Responsible investment in agriculture in developing countries can help them tap the enormous potential in farming in the wake of the recent food crisis, the head of the United Nations trade and development said today, calling for both national and international efforts to ensure domestic economies benefit. “There is an urgent need to invest more in agriculture both to ensure food security and as the basis for long-term economic development,” said Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), when he addressed a meeting of the agency’s investment, enterprise and development commission.The five-day meeting in Geneva will focus on the role of States in improving efficiency in public investment for development.“Smart laws and procedures, organizational schemes, and e-government tools that have demonstrated their efficiency in one country could be helpful to other countries confronted by the same problems,” Dr. Supachai said.According to last year’s UNCTAD World Investment Report, global foreign direct investment (FDI) in agricultural production has been increasing.Dr. Supachai, however, stressed that that such mounting investment must be not only encouraged, but well managed. “We also have to recognize that the actual amount of FDI in the [agricultural] sector is still low, and that potential risks, such as land grab, may pose serious threats to developing country farmers,” he added.He said national governments need to have comprehensive measures in place to ensure that FDI works to the benefit of domestic economies and agricultural sectors. A global set of principles should also be established to guide the agricultural investments of transnational firms, Dr. Supachai added.UNCTAD took the opportunity of the meeting to announce this year’s winners of the agency’s Empretec Women in Business Awards. The Empretec programme trains entrepreneurs in developing countries, many of whom go on to found their own businesses.This year’s winner is Beatrice Ayuru Bvaruhanga of Uganda, who founded Lira Integrated School in northern Uganda in 2000.Ms. Bvaruhanga’s school now has 1,500 students, some of whom board at the school, and its integration of nursery, primary, and secondary classes is one of its strengths, she said. She has plans to expand the school to include a university. She received a $6,000 study tour as a prize.Second among the 10 finalists was María de la Luz Osses Klein of Chile, an entrepreneur who established Biotecnologías Antofagasta SA, which creates biotechnology products for the mining industry. Joy Simakane of Botswana won the third-place award. Her company, Extramile Express PTY Limited, provides customs-clearing and messenger-delivery services.The winners were chosen by an independent panel of 20 judges, comprising corporate executives, entrepreneurs, academicians and gender specialists. read more

Sri Lanka says relations with Pakistan cordial and friendly

Sri Lanka says Pakistan and Sri Lanka have a long history of very cordial and friendly relations and both countries share commonality of views on a wide range of international and regional issues.Speaker Karu Jayasooriya said that both nations coordinate their positions in multilateral fora and have been helpful to each other during difficult times. Editor of the book, Dr. SinhaRaja Tammita Delgoda thanked the Government of Pakistan, Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad and the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka for recognizing the value of this initiative. Their interest and support has enabled this project to reach fruition and made this publication possible. (Colombo Gazette) Dr. Sarfraz Sipra was addressing the launching ceremony of book “An Enduring Friendship; Sri Lanka and Pakistan” which was organized by the High Commission of Pakistan on the occasion of 70th independence anniversary of Pakistan. Speaker Karu Jayasooriya has graced the occasion as the chief guest. Guests of honour included former Sri Lankan Presidents Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister for International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama, Minister for Commerce and Industry Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister for Primary Industries Daya Gamage, Minister of State for National Integration and Reconciliation A.H.M. Fowzie, Minister of State for Rehabilitation and Resettlement M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, Deputy Minister for Petroleum Resources Development Anoma Gamage, and Former Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris.Heads of diplomatic Missions, renowned scholars, representatives of universities, think tanks, and analysts, senior government officials, former Sri Lankan Ambassadors and a large number of people from difference walks of life attended the ceremony as distinguished guests. The Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr. Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been linked since ancient times, a link which is now 2,300 years old. In 1948, shortly after Independence of Sri Lanka, this link was revived and reborn when the founding father of Sri Lanka, Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake travelled to Pakistan to meet the founding father of Pakistan, Quaid i Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He underscored that whenever Pakistan needed; Sri Lanka has always been there. Similarly whenever Sir Lanka needed Pakistan, Pakistan has always been there. Acting High Commissioner Dr. Sarfraz Sipra emphasized that bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been an important part of this region.“It needs to be comprehensively studied and evaluated. The book narrates the story of this beautiful relationship in a beautiful manner. A story most people would love it. Although it is written by a Sri Lankan author, it reflects the value of both countries. This book will serve to identify areas of further cooperation for younger generations between the two nations. The book has futuristic outlook by suggesting innovative approaches that need to be adopted for reinforcing happily existing friendly Pak-Lanka ties,” he added.On the occasion, author of the book Arshad Cassim briefed the audience about the book and said that the book narrates the story of a friendship rapidly evolving in a non-military context, following the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka. It explores the potential for greater economic and cultural cooperation. read more