Figures disclosed by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) show that over 70% of the global population depends on the cultivation of commodities to survive. The theme will be discussed at international conference Global Initiative on Commodities, to take place between May 7 and 11 at Blue Tree Park hotel, in Brazilian capital BrasÀlia.
The meeting is promoted by the CFC in partnership with Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply. According to a research by the CFC, Ethiopia and Uganda, for example, have over 50% of their exports in the form of coffee.
Banana generates 25% of the export revenues of Ecuador, whereas Ivory Coast and Ghana dominate 25% of the international market with their cocoa. This information was disclosed by the Ministry of Agriculture.
"Primary products and poverty are two interconnected matters, and it is not possible to solve the problem of global development and the reduction of poverty without dealing with the question of commodities, as 70% of the global population depends on their cultivation," stated the CFC general director, Ali S. Mchumo.
Around 80 official committees should participate in the meeting in Brasília, as well as members of social movements, government and non-government organizations, associations, universities and the private sector.
Matters to be debated in Brasília will include the "conundrum of greater demand, but lower profits" with regard to agricultural products. The idea is to launch a Global Initiative on Commodities.
Unctad says that some 2 billion people and 86 governments depend on a currently dysfunctional commodities sector. According to the organization, international prices for commodities have climbed in recent years, spurred by increased demand, but profits for farmers in developing countries have fallen even as they have greatly increased production.
In the evaluation of the Unctad and of the other organizations promoting the conference – the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP) -, one person in three worldwide is affected by this aberration.
The use of agricultural commodities as a "valuable" source of growth and income is escaping the governments of the South, who could use it more for financing their development.
According to the organizations, the current upward trend in prices is likely to last another five or ten years and, if the movement is made use of in a better way, it could help reach the Millennium Development Goals, objectives established by the UN which aim at halving global poverty rates by 2015.
The conference to be held in Brasília will aim at placing the question of commodities in the center of international debate, guide discussions of poverty reduction and define strategies to make commodities into an engine for development.
The event will be the first of a series of preparatory meetings for the 12th Unctad Conference, to be held in Ghana next year.