RIBEIRAO PRETO, June 8 – – At a time of uncertainty in global commodity markets and prospects for traditional commodities like sugar, public outreach and exposure for commodity experts in developing countries, such as the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) members of the Common Fund, is an essential part of the commodity development advocacy mission of the Fund.
To this effect, the Common Fund and the International Sugar Organisation (ISO), the ICB partner, recently invited sugar policy experts from ACP member states to Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, to learn about the enormous successes of the Brazilian sugar experience, diversification programmes, ethanol and co-generation partnerships, as well as energy and environmental sustainability initiatives.
Managing Director, Amb. Ali Mchumo, in his opening remarks, provided an overview on sugar prospects as well as an introduction on how the Fund functions and its priorities at this time.
“The Common Fund for Commodities is pleased to participate in this meeting, which comes at a crucial time for the commodity sugar, which is experiencing a revolution in all aspects of its production and trade,” he said. “We note with interest and in many cases concern, the changing circumstances of the sugar industries of our member countries and in particular the erosion of benefits to some of our most vulnerable commodity producers.”
Amb. Mchumo stated that the meeting was an excellent showcase for South/South co–operation and encouraged all participants to take full advantage of the knowledge and ethanol technology exposure made available over the course of the seminar.
Coming at the heels of the 11th Special ACP Ministerial Conference on Sugar, held in May in Georgetown, Guyana, the Ribeirao Preto meeting programme provided an excellent opportunity for substantial discussions and interactive exchange of information between participants and key sugar industry leaders, representatives from government institutions, public and commercial sectors in Brazil.
ISO executive director, Dr. Peter Baron, said he hoped the meeting could counterbalance discussions currently taking place for a renewed policy framework and strategy for the sugar industry to tackle low prices and productivity, diversification, market analysis and access to financial resources, especially in LDCs and both the ACP constituencies within CFC and ISO memberships.
“This type of meeting is especially significant because we need to prepare our members to meet the challenges of change, and the emerging commercial opportunities in ethanol and energy sectors,” said Baron.
In Ribeirao Preto, the main sugar growing region in Sao Paulo state, the meeting was graced by high-level ministerial officials from MAPA- Brazil, captains of industry, top research scientists and policy makers, who are at the forefront of renowned gains achieved by Brazil’s diversification policies, that have paced the country’s leadership role in alternative energy solutions.
In his official remarks, Mr. Manoel Vicente Bertone, Brazil’s Secretary of Production and Agrienergy (MAPA) told the delegates that: “Whether its ethanol development, food production or industrial plant expansion, Brazil is willing to assist and to provide lessons from our experience and optimism to develop sugar diversification programmes that can create jobs and economic opportunities in your countries.”
The CFC-ISO seminar attracted participants from: Barbados, Brazil, Cote D’Ivoire, Cuba, Fiji, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Uganda among others. Published June 15, 2009.[END-2009]