‘Fruits of Development’ Debate

‘Fruits of Development’ debate
City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London
19th April 2007, 7.30pm

Regulating food miles or supporting sustainable agriculture from developing countries? How can we balance the needs of African farmers with our concerns for the environment?

‘Fruits of Development’ – a panel discussion chaired by economist and academic Frances Cairncross – will explore some of the most pressing issues facing West African farmers, the UK food industry and anyone concerned with development issues and the environment. The discussion will be held at City Hall on April 19th, as part of the
Ghana 50 UK season, and looks at looks at ways in which we can balance concerns for the future of the planet with the need to support sustainable agriculture from developing countries.

‘Fruits of Development’
A Ghana 50 UK Debate

‘Fruits of Development’ debate
City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London
19th April 2007, 7.30pm

Regulating food miles or supporting sustainable agriculture from developing countries? How can we balance the needs of African farmers with our concerns for the environment?

‘Fruits of Development’ – a panel discussion chaired by economist and academic Frances Cairncross – will explore some of the most pressing issues facing West African farmers, the UK food industry and anyone concerned with development issues and the environment. The discussion will be held at City Hall on April 19th, as part of the
Ghana 50 UK season, and looks at looks at ways in which we can balance concerns for the future of the planet with the need to support sustainable agriculture from developing countries.

As consumers become increasingly aware of the drastic effects of climate change, and supermarkets aim to cut down on air freighted foods, this debate asks what impact this will have on African farmers who depend on the support of Western customers. Our panel of expert speakers includes Dr Camilla Toulmin, Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Francis Blake, the Soil Association’s Standards and Technical Director, alongside Kweku Ayuba a Fanti pineapple farmer from the Central Region of Ghana.

Richard Morgan, Corporate affairs director for Unilever covering Africa and Middle East will also speak along with Seth Dei, from Blue Skies – a company specialising in importing fruits from Ghana, Egypt and South Africa. Blue Skies supply fresh-from-harvest fruits from South Africa, Egypt and Ghana and aim to combine an effective environmental policy and organic agricultural practices methods with a commitment to improving working conditions for growers. Blue Skies are particularly well-placed to comment on the importance of sustainable agriculture in the African economy, as employers of over 1600 people, with a commitment to fair trade and the development of local communities.

This debate is to be held as part of Ghana 50 UK – a season of Ghanaian arts, culture and sport marking fifty years of independence. The year-long programme – to be held in Ghana and the UK – brings together photography, film, theatre, debate, music and literature, sport, fashion and food, celebrating Ghana’s special place in African history, as the first country in Black Africa to attain independence from colonial rule.

For further details on events, please contact Truda Spruyt or
Helen Wharton at Colman Getty: truda@colmangetty.co.uk helenw@colmangetty.co.uk or 020 7631 2666

Debate Speakers

Kweku Ayuba – Farmer
Kweku Ayuba is from Teckyiman in Ghana and has been farming for approximately 18 years. He grows sugarloaf pineapple for the Blue Skies Organic Collective (BSOC), which is a Fairtrade association of more than 78 farmers working in the Central Region of Ghana. In December 2006 Kweku was awarded National Best Pineapple Farmer during the annual Farmers Day celebrations in Ghana.

Francis Blake – Standards and Technical Director, Soil Association
After graduating with an Agricultural and Forest Sciences degree from Oxford University, Francis set up and ran for 10 years his own organic farm and fresh produce wholesale business in Somerset, where he still lives. He wrote Organic Farming and Growing – a Guide to Management (Crowood Press) and founded the Organic Advisory Service in conjunction with Elm Farm Research Centre, serving as an advisor for 2 years. He then joined Soil Association Certification, heading its Symbol Scheme for 12 years, and now is the Soil Association (charity) standards and technical director. He is also president of the IFOAM EU Regional Group (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements)

Frances Cairncross
Frances is a leading economist, journalist and academic. She became Rector of Exeter College, Oxford in October 2004. Frances was on the staff of The Economist for 20 years, and has also written for The Guardian, The Times and The Observer. She chairs the Economic and Social Research Council and was President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (2005-06). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Senior Fellow at the School of Public Policy, UCLA. She is a non-executive director of Stramongate Ltd, and a regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Analysis programme. In 2004-05, she held the honorary post of High Sheriff of Greater London.

Seth Dei – Director of Blue Skies, Ghana
Seth Dei is currently the best known Ghanaian leasing expert with over 20 years international hands-on experience in lease financing. He is the President of the African Leasing Association (AFROLEASE) and holds a Masters Degree in Finance and Communication from the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York State. Seth also holds a Bachelors degree in Agricultural Economics from New York’s Cornell University.

Richard Morgan – Corporate Affairs Director for Unilever, covering Africa and Middle East
The current focus of Richard’s work is Unilever’s role as part of the private sector response to the Commission for Africa report, its commitment to the Investment Climate Facility and contribution to development more widely. Richard is on secondment from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office with whom previously posted overseas to France, South Africa and Japan

Dr Camilla Toulmin – Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
Dr Camilla Toulmin is Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development based in London, (IIED), having formerly run the Drylands Programme from 1987-2002. Her work has focused on social, economic, and environmental development in dryland Africa and has involved engaging with people at many different levels from farmers and researchers to national governments, NGOs, donor agencies and international bodies.

As Director of IIED since February 2004, Camilla has focused on developing the institute’s strategy and encouraging greater cohesion between the diverse areas of IIED’s work. Camilla studied Economics at Cambridge and London, before gaining her doctorate in Economics at Oxford. She is trustee of WWF (UK) and has been a member of several boards, including ISNAR, the Scientific Committee of the Agricultural Policy Network in West and Central Africa, Economic and Social Research Council, Comic Relief and the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

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Press Tickets:
Name: Helen Wharton
Phone: 0207 631 2666