Agricultural investment

Investing in agriculture has been recognized by FAO as a critical component to achieving poverty reduction. With the recent increase in food prices and resulting implications for food security, the urgency of increasing investment is now recognized as are the opportunities for profitable investment.

Library Resources

resource title type year resource
Agricultural investment funds for development: Descriptive analysis and lessons learned from fund management, performance and private–public collaboration Document 2018

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Agricultural investment funds are experiencing significant growth in numbers and volume, underscor- ing the private sector’s interest in agricultural investment and the public’s interest due to the fact that they help to address the resource constraints for achieving food security and rural development. The attractiveness of agricultural investments as profitable business ventures — due to higher food prices and growth trends, natural resource scarcity, and improved business climates that favour longer-term invest- ments — however is tempered by the risks associated with such investments. Agricultural investment funds are an investment structure to channel investment while mitigating risks to investors in the sector. This publication builds on the 2010 FAO document “Agricultural investment funds for developing coun- tries”, which provided a broad description of private, public and private–public agricultural investment funds and case examples from Africa and Eastern Europe. It was the result of a comprehensive research study undertaken in collaboration with ConCap Connective Capital of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, which later formed the Finance-in-Motion fund management company. 

This publication concludes with recommendations to be considered when setting up agricultural investment funds, as well as overall policy recommendations regarding public and private investment. Public private partnerships (PPPs) can be a valuable tool to increase access to finance for the agricultural sector in developing countries due to its specific characteristics and risks. Public capital can play an important role to attract private investors who otherwise might not be willing to risk investment in agriculture.

Improving accountability in agricultural investments: Reflections from legal empowerment initiatives in West Africa Report 2017 English (en)

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A recent surge in agribusiness plantation deals has increased pressures on land in many low- and middle-income countries. Rural people have mobilised to protect their rights, seek better terms or oppose the deals altogether. Since 2014, an initiative in Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal has worked to help people harness the law in order to have greater control over decisions that affect them – a process commonly referred to as legal empowerment.

In the three countries, the initiative developed diverse approaches, responding to different local contexts and theories of change. Each approach embodied a distinctive combination of grassroots action, public advocacy and private sector engagement – through supporting junior lawyers in Cameroon, grassroots committees in Ghana and locally negotiated land charters in Senegal.

In the final year of project implementation, the project teams met at a writeshop to distil lessons learned and write them up for wider dissemination. This report presents the results of that work. It summarises insights from first-hand experiences with helping rural people exercise their rights and, ultimately, claim their own future.

This project has been produced under IIED’s Legal tools for citizen empowerment project.

Improving accountability in agricultural investments: Reflections from legal empowerment initiatives in West Africa  -  English (en)

Supporting responsible investments in agriculture and food systems Paper 2017 English (en)

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Increasing investments in agriculture is crucial to end hunger and poverty by 2030. At the same time, not all kinds of investments are equally beneficial. In order to generate sustainable benefits for all, it is essential that investments are responsible – addressing the needs of communities, farmers, investors and the broader environment. Currently, many factors impede responsible investment. FAO has developed a needs-driven Umbrella Programme that addresses these challenges. The programme will provide support to enhance responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. This document provides an overview of the Umbrella Programme.

Supporting responsible investments in agriculture and food systems  -  English (en)

Author Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Publisher Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Rome, Italy
Number of Pages 12 pp.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords responsible investment, Agriculture, Agriculture Investment, Investments
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A comprehensive overview of investments and human resource capacity in African agricultural research Report 2017

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This report assesses trends in investments, human resource capacity, and outputs in agricultural research in SSA, excluding the private (for-profit) sector. The analysis uses information collected by Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI)—led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) within the portfolio of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM). The comprehensive datasets were derived from primary surveys, collected through a series of consecutive data collection rounds; a small number of secondary sources, where survey data were missing or of poor quality; and ASTI’s older investment and human resource datasets. This report highlights the cross-cutting trends and challenges that emerged from the country-level data, structuring it within four broad areas: funding capacity, human resource capacity, research outputs, and institutional conditions—all in terms of whether they support or impede the effective and efficient conduct of agricultural research. This report concludes with a set of policy recommendations for regional and national-level decision makers, and other stakeholders.

Author Nienke M. Beintema and Gert-Jan Stads
Publisher International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Number of Pages 56 pp.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Agriculture, Agriculture Investment, Investment
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Agricultural Investment Funds For Development: Comparative analysis and lessons-learned Presentation 2016

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On December 14th 2016, the World Bank and FAO hosted a webinar "Agricultural Investment Funds for Development: comparative analysis and lessons-learned". The speakers Toshiaki Ono, (World Bank Financial Sector Specialist), and Calvin Miller, (independent consultant/ex-FAO Agribusiness and Finance group leader) presented a recent FAO study on Agricultural Investment Funds (AIFs) which analyzed 63 Public and Private Partnership (PPP) funds and 52 fund managers. The study will be published from FAO during 2017. Key lessons-learned from the study and issues discussed during the BBL are summarized below:

  • The study categorized 63 funds by investment targets such as agribusiness companies, agri-SMEs, producer organizations, rural Microfinance Investment Vehicles (MIVs) with significant agricultural investments and others. Across the board, agribusinesses are the preferred target of investment, as well as agricultural activities and crops that already have an established track record and whose risk-return patterns are known can more easily attract investors.
  • The number of AIFs and investments in Latin America is the highest and but in Africa they are increasing significantly. PPPs has been valuable to facilitate the growth, especially in Africa, and is expected to continue. Involvement of public investors may become even more important in view of expected slow growth in Africa.
  • SMEs and producer organizations usually require extensive capacity development support from AIFs. Funds for agri-SMEs and producer organizations are often accompanied by grant for technical assistance. Investments in producer organizations are especially difficult. Careful structuring of how and where to invest in an agricultural value chain is critical to success.
  • Many AIFs are small (below US$50M) in size, especially those for agri-SMEs and producer organizations. Smaller funds usually yield lower financial returns and not all are financially sustainable. Public investors play a critical role in these funds.
  • Many funds are run by specialized fund managers with experience in agriculture. AIFs require a thorough understanding of the agriculture sector in developing countries.
  • Investors in agricultural and agribusiness investment funds pursue development impact in addition to financial return. While improving, greater standardization in impact assessment is indispensable for the growth of the industry and demonstrating their development impact.
  • The enabling environment is an important pre-requisite, not only to attract agricultural investment funds, but also to achieve the full benefits from investment opportunities.
Author Calvin Miller and Toshiaki Ono
Publisher the World Bank and FAO
Number of Pages 19 pp.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Funds, Investment Funds, Agricultural Investment
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Large-scale agricultural investments and rural development in Tanzania: lessons learned, steering requirements and policy responses Document 2016 English (en)

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Tanzania has a long tradition of large scale agro-investments (LSAIs), established during colonial and early post-independence, dismissed during socialist times. New efforts have been made to attract LSAIs, and many investors tried to establish them in the last 10 years, with limited success and frequent failures. Development impacts are heavily disputed. This study looks into the reasons for success or failure of investments, socio-economic impacts and the policies steering them. It is based on an empirical study with 276 qualitative interviews with various stakeholders in spring 2015 around ten LSAIs, all following the nucleus-outgrower model, in three different sub-sectors – sugarcane, tea, rice – in different phases of realisation: planning, establishment, full production and (close to) failure. Results show that there are many challenges to successfully implementing LSAIs in Tanzania, including the general agricultural and specific sub-sector policies, business environment, and particularly land issues. On the other hand, there seems to be considerable potential of these investments to support local development, in particular through providing employment, outgrower farmer incomes, infrastructure and corporate social responsibility projects as part of community compensation. The concrete business model influences the opportunities as well as risks, but no single model seems to be superior. In general, the policies to attract and steer LSAIs are not yet sufficiently developed, coordinated and implemented.

Large-scale agricultural investments and rural development in Tanzania: lessons learned, steering requirements and policy responses  -  English (en)

Author Brüntrup, M., Absmayr, T. Dylla, J., at all.
Publisher German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Germany
Number of Pages 26 pp.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global, Africa
Tanzania
Keywords Agricultural Investment, Investment, Rural Development, smallholders, Outgrower Schemes
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Investissements dans la « petite » agriculture familiale - Vers un New Deal Brief 2015 French (fr)

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Le n°32 de la série de la publication du Cirad appelée « Perspective » s’intéresse aux investissements dans la « petite » agriculture familiale. Il aborde le fait que les petits agriculteurs sont les premiers à investir dans leur exploitation mais qu’ils sont les plus défavorisés en termes d’accès aux dispositifs publics favorisant l’investissement. Selon la publication, l’objectif des politiques publiques doit notamment être de réduire le poids des dépenses pesant sur les familles et le temps consacré à certaines fonctions domestiques, ceci en vue de leur permettre de dégager les ressources nécessaires et de leur donner une plus grande capacité d’initiative. La publication revient également sur la nécessité de sortir d’une vision exclusivement agricole du monde rural et de coordonner les politiques à l’échelle internationale, nationale et territoriale.

Lien vers le site  -  French (fr)

Investissements « privés » dans l’agriculture : contours et enjeux Article 2015 French (fr)

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Ce mois-ci est sorti le numéro 67-70 de la revue Grain de Sel d’Inter-réseaux Développement rural, consacré à « l’année internationale de l’agriculture familiale : bilan et perspectives ». Ce numéro comporte notamment l’article « Investissements « privés » dans l’agriculture : contours et enjeux », qui revient sur les nombreux débats qui accompagnent l’implication croissante du « secteur privé » dans le développement et le financement de l’agriculture et interroge la définition de ce « secteur privé ». L’occasion également de rappeler le partenariat Grow Africa, une initiative de l’Union africaine, du Nepad et du Forum économique mondial lancée en 2011, et qui a pour but d’augmenter les investissements privés dans l’agriculture et d’accélérer l’exécution et l’impact de ceux-ci.

Lien vers l'article  -  French (fr)

Author Augustin Wambo Yamdjeu et Benoit Faivre Dupaigre
Publisher Inter-réseaux Développement rural
Number of Pages 2
Volume / Issue# 67-70
Primary Language French (fr)
Region / Country Global, Africa
Keywords Public-Private Partnership, Agricultural Investment, Private Sector
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Investissement privé et développement durable : débats pour l’agroalimentaire en Afrique Conference Proceedings 2015 French (fr)

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Le besoin de réinvestir en agriculture, souligné par le colloque de 2014 de la Fondation pour l’agriculture et la ruralité dans le monde, qui avait mis en évidence le lien entre insécurité et déshérence des politiques de développement agricole et rural, a motivé la réflexion conduite par des experts et des acteurs économiques pour la préparation du colloque 2015. Le président de FARM, René Carron, a rappelé que depuis la création de la fondation, il y a dix ans, les termes du débat sur la place de l’agriculture dans le développement économique en Afrique ont radicalement changé. Le regard des gouvernements sur l’importance de l’agriculture s’est modifié : tout doit être fait pour rendre cette activité plus attrayante, y compris pour les jeunes qui n’ont généralement que la ville comme point de mire. Alors que la période qui a suivi la crise des prix alimentaires de 2008 a été dominée par les engagements des Etats africains avec l’approfondissement des processus du PDDAA1 et, au niveau des partenaires, par exemple du G8, par une remontée de la priorité accordée à l’agriculture, le secteur privé a montré plus récemment un intérêt accru pour l’investissement dans l’agriculture. Cette arrivée a suscité des controverses, nourries par certaines situations conflictuelles sur le terrain. Les débats ont alors conduit à s’interroger sur la place respective à donner à la puissance publique et au secteur privé dans la définition des politiques et sur la capacité de chacun à répondre aux exigences sociales et au bien commun, tout en poursuivant ses intérêts propres.

Le colloque 2015 de FARM a voulu, comme l’a rappelé son directeur Jean-Christophe Debar, donner la parole aux acteurs des filières, en particulier au secteur privé, pour avant tout comprendre comment, de leur point de vue, les attentes sociétales peuvent être un moteur de développement de leur activité. Il s’agissait d’engager une discussion avec d’autres acteurs, notamment les producteurs ou les financeurs, sur les conditions à réunir pour concilier intérêt privé et bien commun dans une optique de développement durable.

Lien vers la publication  -  French (fr)

Investment Contracts for Agriculture: maximizing gains and minimizing risks Paper 2015 English (en)

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Private investment in agriculture in developing countries, both domestic and foreign, has been on the rise for nearly two decades. This paper focuses on large-scale agri- cultural projects in developing countries, involving the lease of farmland, which rose sharply after the food crisis of 2008. It is important that such investments are sustain- able not only in the long term, but also beneficial in the short term with minimal risks or negative effects. This paper looks at one approach to achieving this, namely, carefully devised contracts with investors, and in doing so offers a number of concrete solutions.

The paper marries two substantial bodies of research to show how investment con- tracts can be set up to promote sustainable development. The paper presents the top five positive outcomes and the five downsides from private sector investments in large- scale agricultural projects. This is derived from empirical evidence gathered by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank after visiting large-scale agricultural projects (UNCTAD and World Bank 2014). The paper then proposes legal options to maximizing the main positive outcomes and minimizing the main downsides through better drafting of contracts between investors and governments for the lease of farmland.

Investment Contracts for Agriculture  -  English (en)

Author Smaller, C., and W. Speller, with H. Mirza, N. Bernasconi-Osterwalder, and G. Dixie.
Publisher World Bank Group
Washington, D.C.: USA
Number of Pages 38 pp.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Agricultural Investment, Investment In Agriculture
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Perspectives 2015/2016 Report 2015 French (fr)

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Disponible dès maintenant : l’édition 2015-2016 de «Perspectives», la publication de référence dans le domaine des investissements servant au développement. Elle offre une vision fascinante de ce genre de placements grâce auxquels le développement est source de rendements et les investissements, de prospérité. Les investissements servant au développement attirent toujours plus de capitaux. 

Lien vers la publication  -  French (fr)

Ressources du Colloque annuel de FARM "Investissement privé et développement durable" - 2015 Website 2015 French (fr)

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L’appel à une plus grande implication du secteur privé dans le développement des filières agricoles et agroalimentaires, pour relever les défis de la sécurité alimentaire et de la nutrition, de la pauvreté et de l’emploi, est un leitmotiv des discours des organisations internationales et de nombreux gouvernements africains. Compte tenu notamment du dérèglement climatique et des faibles revenus des ruraux, le développement de ces filières doit être durable, c’est-à-dire conjuguer profitabilité économique et amélioration des performances sociales et environnementales. Comment et à quelles conditions l’investissement privé peut contribuer à atteindre ces objectifs, tel est le thème du colloque 2015 de la Fondation pour l’agriculture et la ruralité dans le monde, organisé en collaboration avec Pluriagri.

Ce thème est décliné à travers trois tables rondes, composées de représentants du monde agricole, d’entreprises locales et internationales et du secteur public. Comment les firmes intègrent-elles, dans leur stratégie, les normes pour un investissement responsable dans les systèmes alimentaires, adoptées par les Etats, et les principes de la responsabilité sociétale des entreprises ? A quelles conditions peuvent-elles travailler, dans des partenariats équitables, avec les petits producteurs ? Quels sont les rôles légitimes du secteur privé et des gouvernements pour le développement durable des filières agroalimentaires en Afrique ? Un débat contradictoire examine le rôle que joue, dans ce contexte, l’agrobusiness lorsqu’il investit dans des plantations gérées par de la main d’oeuvre salariée, plutôt que dans des dispositifs contractuels d’approvisionnement auprès de petits producteurs.

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AgInvest Africa Website 2015 English (en)

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AgInvest Africa is a web portal on agricultural interventions (projects and programmes) in Africa.

On this website you will find information on and links to various agricultural interventions made by a wide range of stakeholders including: development agencies and banks, international organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists, and the private sector among others. The agricultural investments are in different forms such as programmes, projects or initiatives. In this portal, we refer to all these as “agricultural interventions”

For more information, click on the url link at this page. 

AgInvest Africa  -  English (en)

Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems Report 2014 English (en)

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The Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems prepared by CFS provide added value through a multi-stakeholder, holistic, and consensus-driven approach which fosters global ownership and application. The Principles take into account existing guiding frameworks such as the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that respects rights, livelihoods, and resources (PRAI) developed by FAO, IFAD, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Bank and build on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance on Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food security (VGGT) and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security.

The objective of the Principles is to promote responsible investment in agriculture and food systems that contribute to food security and nutrition, thus supporting the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.

This document seeks to:

  1. Address the core elements of what makes investment in agriculture and food systems responsible;
  2. Identify who the key stakeholders are, and their respective roles and responsibilities with respect to responsible investment in agriculture and food systems;
  3. Serve as a framework to guide the actions of all stakeholders engaged in agriculture and food systems by defining Principles which can promote much needed responsible investment, enhance livelihoods, and guard against and mitigate risks to food security and nutrition.
prai  -  English (en)

The IISD Guide to Negotiating Investment Contracts for Farmland and Water Study Guide 2014

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The IISD Guide to Negotiating Investment Contracts for Farmland and Water is a legal and policy tool for governments and communities that are involved in negotiating investment contracts with foreign investors. The guide focuses on a particular type of contract involving long-term leases of farmland. Part I, Preparing for Negotiations, is designed to assist in the preparatory phase. Part 2, Model Contract, is structured like an investment contract for the lease of farmland and proposes model provisions. 

This type of investment contract is part of a broader legal framework for foreign investment, which operates within three areas of law: domestic law, investment contracts and international investment treaties. Domestic law is the foundation for any potential investment and should govern most of the issues arising, including the legal instrument to be used, such as a lease, licence or permit. The contract will then identify a narrower subset of issues specific to that particular investment, like the size, duration and lease rates. Investment treaties should play the smallest role, dealing essentially with egregious violations such as an expropriation without any compensation.

Large-scale Commercial Agriculture in Africa: Lessons from the Past Brief 2014 English (en)

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African agriculture is in a phase of rapid commercialisation. Planners and investors in sub-Saharan Africa urgently need to consider how the choice of business model, the local context and the political environment affect outcomes of commercial ventures. A review of past experiences with three commercial farming models reveals the conditions that have provided the most stable environment for investors but also protected the most vulnerable in society and created the best chance for technology transfer and local economic linkages. These lessons from history have contemporary relevance.

Large-scale Commercial Agriculture in Africa: Lessons from the Past  -  English (en)

Impacts of Foreign Agricultural Investment of Developing Countries: evidence from case studies Paper 2014

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This paper summarizes the results of FAO’s case studies on the impacts of foreign agricultural investment on host communities and countries. The studies suggest that the disadvantages of large-scale land acquisitions often outweigh the few benefits to the local community. In countries where local land rights are not clearly defined and governance is weak, large scale land acquisition raises particularly high risks for the local community. These include reduced access to natural resources and the loss of livelihoods, which are likely to generate local opposition to the investment. Even from the perspective of the investor, land acquisition is unlikely to be the most profitable business model due to the high potential for conflict and damage to reputation. Conversely, the studies suggest that investments that involve local farmers as equal business partners, giving them an active role and leaving them in control of their land, have the most positive and sustainable effects on local economies and social development. These inclusive business models need strong external support for supporting farmers and facilitating the investor-farmers relationship in order to succeed. They also require ‘patient capital’, as financial returns to investment are unlikely to materialize in the first years. Beside the business model, other important factors include the legal and institutional framework in the host country, the terms and conditions of the investment contract and the social and economic conditions in the investment area. Strengthening the governance and capacity of institutions in host developing countries is essential to enhancing the developmental impacts of foreign agricultural investment.

The Practice of Responsible Investment Principles in Larger-Scale Agricultural Investments - Implications for corporate performance and impact on local communities Report 2014 English (en)

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This report presents findings from 39 agribusiness investments studies in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia and review their approaches to social, economic, and environmental responsibility. The objective of the report is to provide practical knowledge of the approach, behaviour, and experience of these investments, their relationships with surrounding communities and the consequent positive or negative outcomes for these communities, host countries, other stakeholders, and the investors themselves.

The Practice of Responsible Investment Principles  -  English (en)

Author The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank
Publisher The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank
Washington, DC; USA
Number of Pages 80 pp.
Volume / Issue# 86175-GLB
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Impact Analysis
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Linking matching grants with loans: Experiences and lessons learned from Ghana Technical Note 2014 English (en)

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This study presents the results of an assessment on the use of matching grants (MGs) in combination with bank loans to finance productive investments by two IFAD co-funded programmes in Ghana. The study assesses the effectiveness and impact of MGs along four dimensions:technical, economic, financial and operational. In particular, it looks at thefollowing aspects: i) appropriateness and reliability of the financed equipment; ii) impact in terms of employment creation, turnover and profits; iii) access to finance, especially loans; and iv) appropriateness of the financing package (including MG, loan andbeneficiary contribution) regarding the investment and incremental workingcapital requirements. This Technical Note provides practical suggestions and guidelines to country programme managers and project design teams to help them design and implement programmes and projects.

Linking matching grants with loans: Experiences and lessons learned from Ghana  -  English (en)

Author FAO and IFAD
Publisher International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Number of Pages 110 pp.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global, Africa
Ghana
Keywords Agricultural Loan
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Agricultural commercialisation contracts: concessions over people? Brief 2014

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Recent actual and expected changes in global agricultural commodity prices have fostered a renewed business interest in tropical agriculture. Agricultural commercialisation concessions (ACCs) are contracts between governments and agribusiness companies allowing the company to supply inputs, purchase farm produce and also sometimes run processing operations and/or provide storage, marketing and distribution services in a given geographical area. ACCs can have far-reaching repercussions for sustainable development in recipient countries. They could provide new livelihood opportunities, however certain features of the contractual processes and clauses raise concerns that ACCs are concluded with little consultation and grant companies monopoly rights. IIED is following ACC development closely, although most contracts are not publicly available and confidentiality restrictions apply. This briefing discusses some of the issues at stake with the aim of promoting awareness and public debate.

Agricultural investments in Southeast Asia: Legal tools for public accountability Report 2014 English (en)

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As trade and investment flows rapidly increase across Southeast Asia, several countries have experienced a surge in large land deals for plantation agriculture. Against this backdrop, civil society organisations have been using a wider range of legal tools to promote public accountability in investment processes. These include scrutinising the negotiation of international treaties, challenging national legal frameworks, raising local awareness about rights, and testing approaches for local consultation and redress.This report distils key lessons gathered from a regional workshop where legal practitioners, civil society groups and academics shared experiences of using different legal tools for accountability in agricultural investments. Together, these experiences illustrate how working across scales and arenas of law, bridging legal and political strategies, and forming strategic alliances can legally empower citizens, build accountability and shape investments for sustainable development.

agricultural investments in southeast asia  -  English (en)

Author Polack, E., Cotula, L., Blackmore, E. and Guttal, S.
Publisher International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
London, United Kingdom
Number of Pages 33 pp.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global, Asia, South-eastern Asia
Keywords Agricultural Investment, Banking Law, Legal Framework
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Feed the Future Learning Agenda Literature Review: Expanded Markets, Value Chains, and Increased Investment Paper 2013 English (en)

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This paper’s objective is to summarize available evidence on key questions for the Feed the Future Learning Agenda Theme on expanded markets, value chains and increased investments, and document expert opinion on gaps in the scientific literature for this theme that are in most urgent need of attention.

usaid paper  -  English (en)

Emerging investment trends in primary agriculture: a review of equity funds and other foreign-led investments in the CEE and CIS region Report 2013 English (en)

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This study focuses on existing investments by equity funds and other similar structures and the potential for it in the ten countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It analyzes the nature and operations of such funds, including associated risks and returns from the investors’ point of view. Moreover, this study emphasizes several new elements in support of a deeper understanding of the emerging asset class. Firstly, it provides a comprehensive overview of private equity fund investments in large-scale primary agriculture in the selected countries. Secondly, it introduces insights from global experience with fund investments in this asset class in terms of common practices and the scale and context of the investments. Thirdly, the study includes an evaluation (as an asset class) of the performance of seven publicly listed farmland companies active in CEE and the CIS. Finally, the study reviews the current status and prospects for private equity fund investments and the asset class in general within the selected countries.

Emerging investment trends in primary agriculture  -  English (en)

Report of Workshop on Private Corporate Sector Investment in Agriculture in Southeast Asia Report 2013 English (en)

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The Japanese Trust Fund project Support to Study on Appropriate Policy Measures to Increase Investments in Agriculture and to Stimulate Food Production, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) initiated case studies in Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam to better understand views and perceptions of the domestic and foreign corporate private sector regarding investment in agriculture.

The main purposes of the case studies were to take stock of private sector investment in agriculture in the selected countries and understand: (i) what are the factors hindering private agricultural investment from becoming vibrant; (ii) how the potential of private sector investment on domestic and foreign level can be effectively mobilised for agricultural development; and (iii) how collaboration and partnership with small farmers could be enhanced.

FAO, in collaboration with the Brighten Institute, Bogor, Indonesia, organized a technical consultation on 10-11 November 2012 in Bandung, Indonesia, to discuss findings of the case studies of Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam. The workshop was attended by representatives of the corporate sector engaged in agriculture, policy makers, investment experts and government officials.

The objectives of the Workshop were to:

  • Better understand views and perceptions of corporate private sector investors concerning investment in agriculture, including their perspective on diversifying the agricultural sector;
  • Identify drivers of corporate private investment and factors that hinder the corporate private sector investment in the grain sector, beside the rate of return which is reasonably higher for investment in estate plantation than food crops.
  • Discuss policy options available to the government for increasing corporate private sector investment in agriculture and promoting partnerships with small farmers for enhancing agricultural production.
report of workshop  -  English (en)

Supporting Smallholder Farmers in Africa: A Framework for an enabling environment Paper 2013

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This paper is based on a wide-ranging review of the available literature (and supported by information from a survey with our staff and partners) the ASFG created a framework of policies, laws, regulations and practices that can support Africa's smallholder farmers in becoming market ready and help them sustain their market participation. This framework can be used to guide government and donor decisions and is a useful advocacy tool for NGOs and civil society. 

The framework is composed of three elements: foundations, pillars and cross-cutting issues which together describe the types of policies and interventions which support smallholder farmers.

Trends and Impacts of Foreign Investment in Developing Country Agriculture Report 2013

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The report examines the trends in agricultural FDI and its economic, social and environmental impacts at national and local levels, as well as the factors determining these impacts. This document is written based on examples of foreign agricultural investments in nine developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the report provides an argument that no “one size-fits all” business models for investments can be applied, due to the unique particularities of local and regional agricultural markets.

Investing in smallholder agriculture: a new deal for food security and nutrition Report 2013 English (en)

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This report contains the analysis and recommendations of the HLPE as approved by its Steering Committee at its meeting held in Beijing, 13–15 May 2013.

The report calls for a new deal for smallholders. Smallholders constitute the majority of farm families in the world and their contributions to household, national and global food security are monumental. 2014 has been declared by the UN as the International Year of Family Farming. I should emphasize that a smallholding offers great opportunities for sustainable intensification. To reveal the potential of smallholdings, we must enable small farmers to overcome constraints to investments. I hope this report will be helpful for every nation to extend to smallholders a new deal comprising the following five components:

  1. conservation and enhancement of soil health
  2. sustainable management of all water sources and launching a “more crop and income per drop of water” movement
  3. extending appropriate technologies and inputs
  4. providing the needed credit and insurance
  5. ensuring assured and remunerative marketing opportunities.
Investing in smallholder agriculture  -  English (en)

World Investment Report 2013: Global Value Chains: Investment and Trade for Development Report 2013 English (en)

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The 2013 World Investment Report provides an in-depth analysis, strategic development options and practical advice for policymakers and others on how to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks associated with global value chains. This is essential to ensure more inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Report  -  English (en)

Private Investment in Agriculture: Why it's essential, and what's needed Paper 2012

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Massive investment in agriculture is desperately needed to help fix the broken food system. Private sector investment can play a vital role in delivering inclusive economic growth, environmental sustainability and poverty reduction. However, in order to do so, it must be adequately regulated and should adhere to some key principles, such as focusing on local food markets, working with producer organisations and respecting the rights of small-scale producers, workers and communities.

Tipping the Balance: Policies to shape agricultural investments and markets in favour of small-scale farmers Report 2012

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A recent wave of large-scale land acquisitions and other commercial investment in agriculture has raised concerns that small-scale producers are being marginalized. This report takes a new look at the role of public policy and market governance in ensuring inclusive sustainable development. It identifies key policy levers and how these tip commercial investments in favour of either small- or large-scale farming, and how policy levers influence market governance to constrain or support the fair sharing of risk and reward between small-scale producers and the rest of the market. A considerable proportion of the report is dedicated to identifying policy elements that can specifically contribute to gender-equitable results. The focus of the analysis is on national policy, with international policy discussed insofar as it affects national policy and investment processes.The work was supported by four country case studies, conducted in Guatemala, Nigeria, Tanzania and the Philippines.

Cracking the Nut 2012: Attracting Private Investment to Rural and Agricultural Markets Paper 2012

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Cracking the Nut 2012 conference emphasized the need for partnerships between farmers, local and international private businesses, donors, development practitioners and public officials to find creative solutions to the increasingly complex and interconnected global food markets. This publication is a synthesis of the contributions made by more than 270 participants from 41 countries around the world.

The publication summarizes the key lessons learned from the conference, emphasizing the need for partnerships between farmers, local and international private businesses, donors, development practitioners and public officials. In addition, the publication highlights creative solutions to increasingly complex and interconnected global agricultural markets, which we hope will serve to invigorate the passion and inspiration experienced by the conference participants as we work together to crack the remaining touch nuts in rural and agricultural market development.

The State of Microfinance Investment 2012 Report 2012

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This marks the 7th consecutive year that MicroRate has conducted its survey of microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs), which play a key role in connecting private and public capital with microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the world. Despite the ups and downs of the microfinance market, these market matchmakers have consistently con- tinued to play this important role and we look forward to providing continued coverage of their activities in the years to come.

This year's survey includes responses of 86 MIVs, out of a total 102 contacted. This report covers over 93% of MIVs’ total assets, $7.0 billion out of an estimated $7.5 billion in total global assets under management.

Large Agricultural Investments and Inclusion of Small Farmers Paper 2012 English (en)

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The objectives of this study are to:

  • describe the effects of contract farming schemes,
  • characterize the factors limiting or promoting these various impacts,
  • identify key findings to promote the emergence of positive synergies.

The study’ considers a long-term time scale (10 to 50 years) and pays particular attention to changes in agricultural farming, production systems, access to markets and governance patterns of value chains. The study also analyzes how crops initially introduced thanks to contract farming schemes develop “off contract” and induce new value chain.

The study focuses on seven countries - Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, South- Africa, Laos and Indonesia – and major commodities such as: oil palm, rubber tree, fruits and vegetables, cereals, cotton and sugar cane. It is organized into 4 sections: i) the contract schemes, ii) the effects of these schemes, iii) the factors determining the nature and intensity of these effects and iv) key findings to promote positive synergies. Case studies are briefly presented in the appendix.

This document is a summary of the study “Grands investissements agricoles et inclusion des petits producteurs: leçons d’expériences dans 7 pays du sud” by Perrine Burnod and Jean-Philippe Colin. The complete document (101 pp.) is available in French only at http://www.fao.org/docrep/017/aq004f/aq004f.pdf

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Matching Grants Technical Note 2012

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The document describes a matching grant as a one-off, non-reimbursable transfer to project beneficiaries. Matching grants can compensate for the absence of suitable term and investment finance and to stimulate investment and business activity where the intended beneficiaries operate under severe constraints or where the innovations have higher risks or unpredictable profits. This technical note aims to help project designers and reviewers of the design process to decide whether matching grants are the most appropriate financing instrument in a given context and what to consider when designing a matching grant component. The note focuses on use of these grants to finance productive assets and investments for business purposes.

The State of Food and Agriculture 2012 Report 2012 English (en)

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FAO’s recent publication The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2012, which has focused on investments in agriculture as a mechanism to promote agricultural growth and reduce poverty and hunger in an environmentally sustainable way. Some of the highlights of the report show that farmers are the largest investors in developing country agriculture. It suggests that farmers and their investment decisions must be central to any strategy aimed at increasing agricultural investment. The report also presents evidence showing how public resources can be used more effectively to catalyze more private investment, and to channel public and private resources towards more socially beneficial outcomes. The focus of the report is on the accumulation of capital by farmers in agriculture and the investments made by governments to facilitate this accumulation.

sofa 2012 report  -  English (en)

Réagir à l’”accaparement des terres” et favoriser les investissements agricoles responsables Document 2011 French (fr)

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La controverse que suscitent actuellement les acquisitions massives de terres par des investisseurs étrangers a permis à la question des droits fonciers et des investissements agricoles responsables de retrouver une place plus en vue dans les priorités mondiales de développement 1 . Elle a également suscité des interrogations concernant les perspectives du développement à l’échelle planétaire. À ces deux titres, elle a ouvert un large espace international d’échanges sur les moyens d’améliorer les systèmes d’administration foncière et les investissements dans l’agriculture, de manière à renforcer les droits fonciers et les moyens d’existence des petits agriculteurs et éleveurs et des autres groupes de populations vulnérables. Toutefois, l’”accaparement des terres” est un problème qui ne se limite pas aux acquisitions foncières par des étrangers. Il est important de s’intéresser aux menaces que ces acquisitions font peser sur les droits fonciers et les moyens d’existence des petits agriculteurs et éleveurs, des communautés autochtones et des autres groupes de populations vulnérables. Mais ces menaces ne doivent ni détourner l’attention du rôle que jouent les élites nationales et des insuffisances des systèmes nationaux d’administration foncière, ni exclure d’emblée la possibilité que les investisseurs étrangers puissent jouer un rôle constructif en venant en aide aux petits agriculteurs

Lire la publication en ligne  -  French (fr)

A Contribution to the Analyses of the Effects of Foreign Agricultural Investment on the Food Sector and Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa Paper 2011 English (en)

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The growing interest of foreign investors in Sub-Saharan Africa’s vast agricultural potential raises concerns about the investment impacts on the food sector and the economy at large. This paper analyzes the likely effects of foreign agricultural investment in Sub- Saharan Africa with a focus on the impacts on the food sector by simulating the effects of the reduction of investment risks triggering an entry of foreign investment flow. The analysis employs the Global Trade Analysis and Policy (GTAP) model and simulates three investment scenarios that affect land uses, labour market conditions, and technological progress. The data are aggregated over three main sectors: food, manufacturing and services. Simulation results show that although foreign agricultural investment in Sub-Saharan Africa would lead to an increase in food prices and a decline in domestic food supply that would in turn cause an increase in food imports, the increases in factor returns and in employment would boost households’ real income to offset the loss from higher food prices. The positive income effects would be magnified if the agricultural investment brought technological progress to the food sector. Moreover, foreign agricultural investment would widen the current account deficit but improve terms of trade, whose effect on total welfare is large. The improvement of the terms of trade in the model is mainly due to a strong increase in the export price of tradable goods from the manufacturing sector. The service sector would unambiguously experience the strongest output growth as it benefitted from the formation of capital goods. Overall, the simulation results show that entry of foreign agricultural investment would generate a net welfare gain.

Paper  -  English (en)

Food for All - Investing in Food Security in Asia and the Pacific— Issues, Innovations, and Practices Book 2011

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The book presents the highlights of the proceedings of the three-day Investment Forum. Each chapter closely corresponds to a session of the forum where presentations and interactive discussions took place. Some presentations have been shortened or condensed due to space considerations.

The range of food security issues is varied and complex and respected scientists, technical experts, and hands-on managers guide us through the maze with presentations that not only inform but inspire. The articles spotlight innovations and good practices—success stories for replication—as well as the necessary areas for reform and action.

In five last chapters that mirror forum sessions, the book delves into the following thematic areas:

enhancing productivity investment, which spans food security research, information and communication technology, agriculture advisory services, irrigation and land use, high-yielding technologies, veterinary services, aquaculture management practices, and post-harvest management;

upscaling innovations and good practices in natural resource management, such as forest and coastal resource management, land/soil management, land use planning, and water resource management;

increasing investments for resilience, which include risk management, early warning systems, financing for climate proofing and climate change adaptation, weather index insurance, food fortification, and nutrition;

innovative financing for food security through credit, farmer access to finance, contract farming, and commodity exchange; and

• enhancing connectivity investments for food security through rural infrastructure, market facilitation and value chain development, fostering rural small- and medium-sized enterprises and producer organizations, improving food safety and quality standards, and market information dissemination.

International Investments in Agriculture in the Near East: Evidence from Egypt, Morocco and Sudan Paper 2011 English (en)

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This publication was motivated by this surge in international investments in agriculture and the need to answer some key policy questions, through and a brief review of international investments in the region, and an exploratory analysis of the issues and challenges in the policy arena. Three case studies in Egypt, Morocco and Sudan were commissioned by the FAO Regional Office for the Near East. The purpose was to (i) identify past and current investment trends in terms of the actors involved, modalities, size and impact (to the extent that information is available), (ii) assess these investments in the context of the region and its food security challenges, and (iii) identify areas to be addressed by policy makers to ensure food security in the long run and provide a starting point to evaluate investments for timely and targeted policy measures. While information on international investments in agriculture is not readily available, the case studies provide an overall picture of agriculture investments, specifically focusing on foreign direct investments.

International Investments in Agriculture  -  English (en)

Private Sector Agribusiness Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa Paper 2010 English (en)

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This study is an appraisal of private sector investment in agribusiness and agro-industries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It forms part of a larger analysis and work plan of agricultural investment by the Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division (AGS) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other divisions of the Organization. The study aims to provide a holistic and comprehensive overview of private sector participation in the agricultural sector beyond the involvement of transnational corporations (TNCs) in primary production, which was the focus of the recent World Investment Report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD, 2009). Specifically, the objectives of the study are:

  • to take stock of private agribusiness investment in SSA;
  • to analyse factors that propel or constrain investments in the sector, which includes a synthesis of policies and strategies relevant to the sector; and
  • to appraise and describe innovative public sector policies, programmes and institutions for stimulating additional private sector agribusiness investment.
working paper  -  English (en)

Making the most of agricultural investment: A survey of business models that provide opportunities for smallholders Paper 2010

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Drawing on a literature review, this report examines a range of business models that can be used to structure agricultural investments in lower- and middle-income countries, and that provide an alternative to large-scale land acquisitions. A business model is the way in which a company structures its resources, partnerships and customer relationships in order to create and capture value – in other words, a business model is what enables a company to make money. Business models are considered as more inclusive if they involve close working partnerships with local landholders and operators, and if they share value among the partners.

Agricultural Investment Funds for Developing Countries Paper 2010

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This publication explores agricultural investment funds as a vehicle for financing agricultural projects. It looks at the capital needs of the different agricultural actors along the agricultural value chain and taking into consideration investment funds involving all kinds of investors (private, public as well as joint initiatives) and investment objectives. The publication draws heavily from a 2009 FAO-ConCAP research study “Agricultural investment funds for developing countries”(“the research study”), which identified a broad range of investment funds that target agriculture in developing and transition countries. The identified funds were classified according to various criteria such as geographic distribution, capital, shareholder and investor base, investment instruments, target group served and financial performance, as well as organizational and operational structure. In the context of the research study, 31 agricultural investment funds out of 80 funds identified were considered to match the selection criteria.

This publication concludes with recommendations to be considered when setting up agricultural investment funds as well as overall policy recommendations. PPPs can be a valuable tool to increase access to finance for the agricultural sector in developing countries.Due to very specific characteristics and risks related to the agricultural sector, public capital can play an important role to attract private investors, who otherwise might not be willing to risk investment in agriculture. Given the success of PPPs, the role of governments and international donors in agricultural investment funds should be reconsidered. To stimulate investments in agriculture, policies and regulations affecting agricultural production, the legal environment of the investment as well as the overall investment climate in the respective country need to be addressed.

Author Miller, C., Richter, S. McNellis, P., Mhlanga, N.
Publisher Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Number of Pages 185 pp.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Agricultural Investment, Agribusiness Finance, Agricultural Development
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Responding to ‘land grabbing’ and promoting responsible investment in agriculture Paper 2010

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This paper aims to contribute to the current debate by reflecting on the challenges being faced and some of the possible responses. In particular, it focuses on various proposed principles and guidelines for promoting good land governance and responsible investment in agriculture.

Agricultural Insurance in Latin America: Developing the Market Report 2010 English (en)

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The study focuses on how agricultural insurance can complement and enhance agricultural risk management in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC). The overall objective of this study is to provide the key elements for a strategy to increase the penetration of agricultural insurance in the region. The study is organized into five chapters, including this introduction. Chapter two provides an overview of the agricultural sector in LAC, including a description of the main farming systems and an assessment of the main perils affecting production. Chapter three describes the current provision of agricultural insurance, describing the evolution of agricultural insurance, providing the current market figures, assessing the availability of agricultural insurance products, describing government support to agricultural insurance, and estimating the current levels of penetration. Chapter four focuses on the challenges in attempting to increase coverage and penetration. It assesses the current gaps in the provision of agricultural insurance, identifies opportunities for further development, and recommends some future actions that can be taken. Finally, chapter five presents the conclusions of the study.

Agricultural Insurance in Latin America  -  English (en)

Author The World Bank
Publisher The World Bank
Washington, DC
Number of Pages 152 pp.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global, Americas, Central America, Caribbean, South America
Keywords Agriculture, Agricultural Insurance, Risk Management
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Private Financial Sector Investment in Farmland and Agricultural Infrastructure Paper 2010

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Private financial sector investment in agriculture is a small but rapidly growing phenomenon, involving large scale financial institutions, hedge funds and real estate investment trusts as well as private/public companies pursuing farm ownership/management strategies. This sector has been increasingly attracted to agriculture primarily because of current prospects for income generation, capital appreciation, and uncorrelated returns with equity markets and as a hedge against inflation. Little information has been available concerning the profile and role of private investment groups in this asset class or the impact they are having in the communities where they operate. In an effort to shed some light on these operations, a private consulting firm (HighQuest Partners)1 with a proprietary database of funds active in the crop land and agriculture infrastructure was contracted to undertake a confidential survey of private financial sector investment in agriculture.

Investing in Agriculture for Poverty Reduction Document 2009

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Increases in commodity food prices have not only raised awareness of the urgency to increase agricultural investment, they also have set up opportunities for profitable investments. The capital required to invest comes through debt or equity but both rely upon financial service providers such as banks and credit unions to facilitate the needed money flows for loans, deposits, money transfers, guarantees and other financial products. They provide access to the assets required to increase agricultural productivity and reach a scale that will lead to higher incomes and asset growth for the rural poor. However, providing financial services to agriculture and rural areas involves risks, high transaction costs and historically low returns on investment to agriculture. For small-scale agriculture, financial services are even more limited.

Designing and Implementing Quality Investments in Agricultural Water Management Technical Note 2006

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Irrigated agriculture has been vital to meeting fast rising food demand and has driven rural development and poverty reduction in developing countries, where the agricultural area under irrigation has doubled over the last forty years

Agricultural Investment and Productivity in Developing Countries Paper 2001 English (en)

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The purpose of this book is to investigate the relationship between agricultural investment and productivity in developing countries. Investment is viewed as an important aspect to enhance agricultural productivity, and the key to promoting long-term growth. Although technology and policy are other important long-term factors, the book focuses on investment because public, private and international investments are declining. Low levels of investment in agriculture bode poorly for long-term prospects of achieving food security in the developing world. A growing agricultural sector contributes to overall growth and improved food security in developing countries where the agricultural sector provides livelihood directly and indirectly to a significant portion of the population, especially in rural areas, where poverty is more pronounced. Hence, improving the production capacity of agriculture in developing countries through productivity increases is a critical component of improved food security. The objective of this book is to provide an understanding of the linkages between agricultural investment and productivity where agricultural investment includes not only investments in physical capital but in human and social capital as well as natural resources.

The book reviews studies investigating the relationship between investment and productivity, as well as highlights some new findings, methodology and data issues. The book is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on the methods developed and overall findings about the relationship between investment and productivity. Special emphasis is placed on a methodology for incorporating agricultural natural resource depletion in calculating measures of growth. The first paper, Agricultural Investment, Production Capacity and Productivity, by Zepeda, provides an overview of the terminology, different methods used in the analysis of measurement of productivity and a review of the productivity literature. This provides background and context for the subsequent papers. Paper 2, An International Analysis of Agricultural Productivity, by Chavas, is an international comparison of agricultural productivity of selected countries from 1961 to 1994. A non-parametric method is used to illustrate how this approach can be used with both cross-section and time-series data. Paper 3, Agricultural Productivity and Natural Resource Depletion, by Lee and Zepeda, presents a model that incorporates natural resource depletion. Until now, models of productivity measurement have not taken this into account even though many economists recognize the importance of environmental disinvestment. The paper outlines a methodology for incorporating this analysis as well as data needs.

Overall the book provides an overview of current thinking and findings about the relationship between agricultural investment and productivity. This includes theoretical and methodological developments, such as incorporating natural resource depletion. It also underlines, through the concerns expressed by many authors about data scarcity and limitations, that neglect of information needs hampers the forward-looking assessment of sustainability of agricultural and rural development. The book also reviews findings about the linkages of investment and productivity in the context of other important factors such as land policy, debt, civil unrest and structural adjustment programmes. This places agricultural investment solidly as a crucial but integral component of an overall policy to promote agricultural productivity.

Paper  -  English (en)

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