FAO Report: Investing in agriculture for a better future
Investing in agriculture is one of the most effective ways of promoting agricultural productivity, reducing poverty and enhancing environmental sustainability. Making the transition to sustainable agriculture will not be possible without significant new investment to protect and enhance the efficiency of natural resource use and to reduce waste at all stages of production, processing and consumption. Yet levels of private and public investment per worker in agriculture are stagnant or falling in the regions where rural poverty and hunger are most severe. What’s more, too often government spending on agriculture does not yield the highest returns in terms of agricultural productivity, poverty reduction and sustainability.
There is no doubt that more public resources are needed for agriculture. However, rather than just advocating more government and donor funding, this report calls for a new investment strategy that puts agricultural producers at its centre and focuses public resources at all levels on the provision of public goods and the creation of an enabling environment for investment by farmers. It calls upon governments at all levels and their development partners to channel both public and private investment towards activities that yield higher returns for society. All agricultural investors and rural businesses need good governance, macro-economic stability, rural infrastructure, secure property rights and effective market institutions in order to mobilize the resources and assume the significant risks that investing in agriculture entails.