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Minister responds to Concern's Unheard Voices campaign

The Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander, has responded to calls from Concern campaigners to listen to the voices of the poorest farmers in developing countries.


Over 400 people sent emails and postcards to the Secretary of State urging him to listen to farmers like Florence Nakaweesi from Rakai Province, Uganda.

The only option

Florence has no option but to farm. Despite working as hard as she can, she cannot produce enough food to feed her children. Florence has told Concern that if she had better seeds and tools she could transform her life.

Unheard Voices campaigners have been taking Florence’s message to the Secretary of State, asking him to ensure the needs of vulnerable farmers are prioritised. As a result, Douglas Alexander has promised the government will re-examine the support it gives to agriculture in developing countries to make it more effective. This could make a big difference to the lives of farmers like Florence.

The Secretary of State also promised his department will “consult widely when undertaking the full review of its agriculture policy” in 2008. This important development – brought about by Unheard Voices campaigners – provides a crucial opportunity to make sure the voices of farmers like Florence are listened to.

Concern is now urging people to keep up the pressure on the government in 2008, ensuring it keeps its promises.

  • To read the letter from the Secretary of State for International Development click here
  • Listen to the voices of marginalised farmers (video) by clicking here