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Grameen has inspired similar efforts on several continents, including the Twin Cities where fledgling entrepreneurs often turn for small amounts of credit and expertise to nonprofit lenders such as the Neighborhood Development Center, the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers or the African Development Center. The micro businesses prove themselves there before they can gain access to a commercial lenders.
Zaman has another admirer she won’t meet until Friday at the Nobel Forum.
Chris Policinski, the CEO of Land O’Lakes, the Arden Hills-based cooperative that is a multibillion-dollar dairy enterprise. Its international division has worked for 30 years with small farmers, trying to help them band together as producers and establish profitable markets, in some of the poorest corners of the world.
Fahmida Zaman’s story is “a classic that we see over and over again, how a little bit of agricultural development can lift a family from poverty to a little bit of prosperity,” Policinski said last week. “And these ‘smallholder’ farms then will buy a little fertilizer, some more tools and then the kids are going to school and ... ultimately can make for a little better world.’’
Policinski will join Cargill Chief Operating Officer David MacLennan Friday on a panel that addresses food security, or having enough to eat, and peace. That follows the Nobel laureate address by Yunus on Friday afternoon. The conference commences at noon. Tickets are available for each of the Friday through Sunday sessions at www.nobelpeaceprizeforum.org. ($40 general admission, $10 for students)
Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144