Agricultural Technologies for Development
Amb Prosor addresses the UN General Assembly
A record number of 114 UN Member States co-sponsored and adopted for the
fourth time the resolution initiated by the State of Israel entitled
Agricultural Technology for Development, first adopted at the 62nd UN General Assembly in
Agricultural technologies (Photo: MFA - MASHAV)
First adopted at the 62nd UN General Assembly in December 2007, the resolution urges Member States, relevant UN
organizations and other stakeholders to strengthen efforts to improve
the development of appropriate sustainable agricultural technologies and
their transfer to developing countries at the bilateral and regional
levels, and to support national efforts to foster the utilization of
local know-how and agricultural technologies, promote agricultural
technology research and access to knowledge and information.
Address by Ambassador Ron Prosor to the UN General Assembly
behalf of the 114 co-sponsors, I wish to congratulate all the
delegations that supported the “Agricultural Technology for Development” resolution. You are the "agri-pioneers" of the United Nations
supporting the next wave of "agri-preneurs".
An old African
proverb teaches that “knowledge is like a garden: if it is not
cultivated, it cannot be harvested.” Today's resolution is about
improving the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across the
developing world. It is about giving people the Midas touch through
technologies like the iPod Touch.
Agriculture is about more than
simply producing food, fibers and fuels; it’s about helping communities
flourish. In fact, agriculture is one of the most profitable commercial
sectors. From the NASDAQ to the Nikkei, investors have their eyes on
the stock exchange, but their ears to the ground.
The World Bank
estimates that agricultural investment yields 2.5 times more benefits
than investments in other sectors. From China to Nigeria, more than one
billion people work in agriculture – making it the world’s
second-largest source of employment.
Yet, far too many farmers
don't taste the fruits of financial fortune. Most of the 1.4 billion
people living in extreme poverty are found in rural areas and depend on
agriculture for their livelihoods. These struggling farmers have been
trapped in an endless cycle of poverty, but given the right conditions
they can break free and unleash a sustainable agricultural revolution.
global population is growing, and with it is the need for technology to
produce and preserve more food. Today’s resolution will support
farmers’ ingenuity, imagination and innovation and will provide them
with the technology to progress from poverty to prosperity.
comprise the majority of the agricultural workforce in many developing
countries - they are the ones who toil in the soil. From planting to
plowing and from fertilizing to harvesting, women are immersed in every
aspect of agricultural production.
So why is it that the
productivity rate of female farmers is 30% lower than that of male
farmers? As a result of persistent discrimination, female farmers have
inferior seeds, fewer fertilizers and tools. While men receive extensive
training on how to care for their crops, women are cropped out of the
The developing world may seek to cultivate its natural
resources, but it is wasting its greatest natural resource –its human
resource. No business in any country can make healthy margins by
marginalizing half the population. By investing in female farmers, we
can increase crop yields by 30% and feed an additional 150 million
people each year.
This year’s resolution also includes a special
focus on the struggle of rural youth. Each year, more young people are
abandoning their rural communities, trading fields and farms for the
bright lights of the big city. This migration is contributing to
over-urbanization and growing unemployment in cities across the globe.
need to address the wave of disillusionment with rural life, and
empower youth to take part in every step of the agricultural process
from seed to market.
This sort of technology
is making it easier for farmers like Gilbert Egwel to share vital
information. Gilbert is a 25 year-old fruit farmer from northern Uganda
who learned how to manage a fruit farm from the instructions that were
provided by a local radio agricultural talk show.
what he learned and was able to sell his fruits in a local market. He
receives payment through his mobile phone along with weekly updates on
Imagine – just imagine, if every farmer had a
smartphone to check prices in competing markets. From smartphones to
smart farming to smart business decisions – technology can help a farmer
know about a storm brewing on the horizon or a plague of pests
devouring neighboring farms. Instead of looking to the heavens to find
out when the next drought is coming, they can look at the live updates
in the palm of their hand.
resolution focuses on capacity building, education and skills transfer –
the essential building blocks of development. 114 nations from the
jungles of South America to the mountains of South East Asia and from
the plains of Africa to the islands of Oceana recognize the vast
potential of agricultural technology.
Yet there is one group of
nations standing in the way of us achieving consensus on this
resolution: surprisingly, the Arab group. Ironically, few countries
could benefit more from agricultural technologies than the Arab world.
Across this region, people are hungry for change and thirsty for
progress. Yet the Arab governments are stubbornly determined to put
politics before people.
And I would like to suggest the Saudi
representative that his country allows women behind the wheel before
steering the conversation here further off course.
But we will
not be deterred. Our focus is on the horizon – when we will see the day
when all people have the training, tools, and opportunities they need to
support their families and their communities.
countries hold in their hands the seeds of the future – the potential
for life and the potential for prosperity. From the coffee fields of
Ethiopia to the rice paddies of Nepal, it is time to plant these seeds
and reap the rewards. With this resolution, we are fortunate to help
developing countries become masters in the field and masters of their
When the State of Israel was
established in 1948, our young pioneers took control of their destiny by
working tirelessly to make our arid deserts bloom. Laboring day and
night, they sang a famous song called Zum Gali Gali – about commitment and cooperation in the field.
as we extend our hand to the developing nations of the world, this
message of commitment and cooperation is just as meaningful. As the song
From the dawn till setting sun
Everyone finds work to be done.
From the dawn till night does come
There's a task for everyone
Pioneers work hard on the land,
Men and women work hand in hand
As they labor all day long,
They lift their voice in song
Let us work, my friends as one
Let us work 'til the task is done.
Thank you very, very much Mr. Chairman.