Monday, November 13, 2006 - 11:40 AM

Complementary Private Sector Strategies for Commercial Development, Cooperative Development of Competitive Markets, and Humanitarian Assistance.

Robert Horsch, Monsanto Corp, 800 N Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63167

The private sector is working to improve agricultural productivity and value in both developed and developing countries. Many of the products developed for the U.S. have turned out to be relevant and valuable in developing countries as well – as long as they are adapted to local varieties and local practices with local partners. We use three complementary, parallel strategies to deliver needed technology to smallholders in developing countries: commercial markets, development partnerships, and humanitarian assistance. Investment and expansion of commercial markets reaches millions more smallholder farmers in developing countries each year. These farmers are customers who are able to choose to buy products in a competitive marketplace and who do so when they can make a greater profit by investing in these products. There are also smallholders who could benefit from commercial products today, but who live in areas where there is no functioning market to access products, no credit and no cash to afford them, and no extension services to provide training and information on best use and value. Here we engage in partnerships for cooperative development of competitive markets with non-profit organizations, local SME’s, and farm organizations to locally test, locally adapt and locally deliver products to small-holders who otherwise would not have access. In most examples, the delivery system is subsidized but not the products. In other cases, the product is donated in the early stages. The intention is to transition to self-sustaining, competitive markets once the infrastructure has been developed. We also recognize that many smallholders have agricultural problems that companies are not working to solve – especially in the subsistence crops like cassava, sweet potato, cowpea and many others. For such subsistence crops we can share technology with public institutions whose role is to invest in creating public goods to solve those problems.