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jerryking : property_ownership   5

Why some see big potential in tiny farms - The Globe and Mail
Doug Saunders

Oxford, England — The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Apr. 12 2014,

TechnoServe, a long-established Washington-based non-profit whose 1,400 employees provide technical assistance to small developing-world farmers....Those small farmers don’t produce much food in part because they can’t afford to buy decent seeds and fertilizer. They can’t afford seeds or fertilizer because they can’t borrow money based on their future crop sales. And, Mr. Masha notes, that’s because lending them money can be so expensive: Interest rates on tiny loans are already, by definition, very high; add to that the cost of servicing loans across regions, and the considerable cost of hedging those loans against volatile developing-world currencies, and, he says, “you’ve priced them right out of the credit market.”

Banks and micro-credit agencies are also reluctant to lend because small farmers often have no collateral: Property ownership is ambiguous and few countries have small-claims courts to deal with defaults. (Brazil, an exception, owes a lot of its development success to the creation of such institutions.)

While the potential in these farms is huge, few want to take the risk of building agricultural supply and value chains in the developing world. Such investments take many years to generate returns, which tend to be very modest – rendering them uninteresting to corporations and venture capitalists, but increasingly appealing to Chinese state enterprises and a few people with local knowledge.
smallholders  farming  agriculture  size  scaling  Doug_Saunders  TechnoServe  poverty  tacit_data  supply_chains  value_chains  fertilizers  seeds  SOEs  China  interest_rates  microfinance  microlending  property_ownership  developing_countries  institutions 
april 2014 by jerryking
Forty Acres and a Gap in Wealth
by HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.
Published: November 18, 2007

The telltale fact is that the biggest gap in black prosperity isn’t in income, but in wealth. According to a study by the economist Edward N. Wolff, the median net worth of non-Hispanic black households in 2004 was only $11,800 — less than 10 percent that of non-Hispanic white households, $118,300. Perhaps a bold and innovative approach to the problem of black poverty — one floated during the Civil War but never fully put into practice — would be to look at ways to turn tenants into homeowners. Sadly, in the wake of the subprime mortgage debacle, an enormous number of houses are being repossessed. But for the black poor, real progress may come only once they have an ownership stake in American society.

People who own property feel a sense of ownership in their future and their society. They study, save, work, strive and vote. And people trapped in a culture of tenancy do not.

The sad truth is that the civil rights movement cannot be reborn until we identify the causes of black suffering, some of them self-inflicted. Why can’t black leaders organize rallies around responsible sexuality, birth within marriage, parents reading to their children and students staying in school and doing homework?
Henry_Louis_Gates  African-Americans  owners  land  property_ownership  achievement_gaps  racial_disparities  personal_finance  wealth_creation  real_estate  social_classes  subprime  home_ownership  generational_wealth  ownership 
november 2011 by jerryking

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