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New and responsible investments in agriculture

Towards strengthening good governance standards

Investing in agri-business for youth and women employment (Photo/©FAO)

29 September 2015, Accra - A two-day national technical workshop to dialogue with key stakeholders on the principles guiding new investments into agriculture opens in Accra, from 29-30 September 2015.

The workshop, the third after Tanzania and Mozambique last January and April respectively, seeks to build on the outcomes of previous activities of the Pilot use of Principles Guiding New Investments in Agriculture.

The Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG), made up of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank launched the programme last January to provide practical recommendations on how to operationalize principles in specific investment projects and opportunities for participatory and informed discussions on what responsible investment means in practice for different stakeholders.

The case of Ghana

The IAWG believes that important lessons on responsible investment in agriculture can be learned in Ghana.

 “Agriculture is a driving force of the Ghanaian economy, accounting for more than 40 percent of GDP and employing over half of its workforce. Opportunities and challenges of agricultural investment have been discussed for many years in the country and several initiatives to maximize benefits and minimize risks of agricultural investment are already in progress”,  declared Dr. Ahmed Alhassan Yakubu, Ghana's Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of crops. 

“Ghana is a major producer of cash crops including cocoa. Smallholders produce the bulk of food and cash crops in the country. Agribusiness and agroindustry development is seen as important for reducing poverty, food insecurity, diversify and add value to agricultural products and thus provide the catalyst for Ghana’s economic transformation”, he elaborated.

On his part, Dr. Abebe HaileGabriel, Deputy Regional Representative for Africa and FAO Representative in Ghana, said the vision for agricultural transformation across the Africa region is largely dependent on the success of governments, development actors and the private sector to generate substantial public and private financing to drive forward innovation and growth.

“Modernizing the agricultural sector through expansion in agricultural growth, enhancing rural infrastructure and the dissemination of low cost farm technology will require a massive injection of investment covering a range of agricultural markets from traditional crop production to emerging agribusiness”, he added.  

Strengthening international cooperation

To promote responsible investment in the agricultural sector, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), composed of governments, civil society organizations and representatives of the private sector endorsed the CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems in 2014. FAO is committed to work with partners to provide guidance on the operationalization of these principles.  

The IAWG program Pilot use of Principles Guiding New Investments in Agriculture is a step in that direction. The program assesses the compliance to principles with relatively new agribusiness operations in Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Its primary objective is to infuse responsible investment principles and practices into early stage agribusiness operations and ensure mutually beneficial interaction between these operations and local communities, the environment and the economy as a whole.

Practical guidance, tools, processes and procedures will also be generated, as well as recommendations and good practices that can be used at the early stages of future investments.

 

Related links

- CFS

- FFD3

- http://www.fao.org/economic/est/issues/investments/en/

- http://www.fao.org/economic/est/issues/investments/workshop-rai/en/

 

Contacts in Accra:

Liliane.Kambirigi@fao.org  

David.Youngs@fao.org

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