Agricultural investment is one of the most effective strategies for economic growth and poverty reduction in rural areas, which is where most of the world’s poor live.
Gross domestic product growth in agriculture has been shown to be at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth originating in other sectors, according to the World Bank.
The regions of the world where hunger and poverty are most widespread have seen stagnant or declining rates of agricultural investment in agriculture over the past three decades.
Eradicating hunger in these regions and increasing food production requires substantial increases in investment in agriculture, including dramatic improvements in the level and quality of government investment.
The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that an additional investment of US$83 billion will be needed annually to close the gap between what low- and middle-income countries have invested each year over the last decade and what is needed by 2050.
In other words, yearly investment in agriculture needs to rise by more than 50 percent.
The FAO’s activities to encourage investment in agriculture and rural development include:
- Providing technical and economic advice to governments on policies and legislation that influence public and private investment.
- Helping governments develop multi-sector and multi-partner investment strategies aligned with their own priorities.
- Helping countries design, implement and evaluate investments, not only for agriculture and rural development but also to meet the food and nutrition needs of their citizens.
- Provide technical support to international financing institutions to leverage additional investment.
- Support the development of agricultural, food security and nutrition investment strategies and plans under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme.
- Analyze trends and impacts of foreign agricultural investment in developing countries.
- Support international consultations to develop principles for responsible agricultural investment.
The Inter-Agency Working Group, which comprises the FAO, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank, has developed the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that Respect Rights, Livelihoods and Resources.
These draw attention to the rights and livelihoods of rural populations and the need for socially and environmentally sustainable agricultural investments.
The Food and Agriculture Organization is an agency of the United Nations.