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Book of Abstracts

11th IFOAM
Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996
Copenhagen, Denmark

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Ways of increasing organic farming in 3rd world countries through acess to credit S5

Golstein Brouwers, Marilou van1; Pehrson, Lars 2,

1) Triodosbank, Prins Hendriklaan, Postbus 55, NL-3700 AB Zeist, The Netherlands.2) Merkur, Den Almennyttige Andelskasse (cooperative bank), Vejgaard Moellevej 3, DK-9100 Aalborg, Denmark.

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Organic farming represents an essential contribution to a long term solution of local food production capacity and environmental problems in the 3rd world countries. In general local so called »micro-enterprises«, including individual small-scale farmers, has difficulties obtaining credits and financing. In the traditional financing systems small farmers and other small enterprises are looked upon as inefficient and not-creditworthy - and if credits are at all available, the conditions are often unacceptable.

Experiences with micro-credit programmes show however, that it is possible, with small credits to local initiatives, to create production and employment on a sustainable basis.The results are often even better, seen in relation to the amounts involved, than traditional development projects based on substantial state subsidies. To receive a credit and pay it back gives the entrepreneur (the farmer) the feeling of being trustworthy and to »stand of one's own feet«. This influences the social life, increases the responsibility and the stability.

The Dutch Triodosbank has developed financial techniques in cooperation with the Dutch development organisation HIVOS, which make it possible to use savings, generated in The Netherlands, as financial basis for credits in the 3rd world, including a substantial part for organic farming and food manufacturing and distribution. The financing goes through a foundation made for the purpose, the HIVOS-TRIODOS-Fund, and also include banks and other local partners in the 3rd world countries. This financing technique is being implemented in other european countries and in that sense has wider perspectives.Per 31.12.95 an amount of 6.3 million Dutch Guilders finance 37 projects/project groups in the 3rd world through this scheme, which also have an important function in creating understanding for the development conditions among the Dutch savers.Triodos Bank also established another fund together with the Dutch DOEN-Foundation; the Triodos-Doen-Foundation. The funding comes from the National Postcode Lottery. DOEN stands for (in Dutch) »Sustainable Development and Protection of Nature«. Triodos-Doen Foundation gives loans to businesses and institutions with social-added value (including 3rd world projects), which fall outside the criterias for a »regular« loan from a bank, which of course has a main responibility towards its savers.

On the symposium the work, the results and the challenges will be presented.