Sustaining investments in the agriculture and rural sector
The continuous agricultural growth in the region, especially of cereal yields that underlay decades of declining real food prices, may have run its course. Without adequate investment in technical change, it is simply a matter of time before the potential created in the past, e.g. by the green revolution, is exhausted.
Agricultural production may not be able to keep pace with increasing population, the income-driven demand for livestock and dairy products and high value crops and new demands for biofuels.
Investment in agriculture and rural areas as a proportion of total investment had been declining for many years as a result of the rapid growth of the industrial, manufacturing and service sectors. But since the mid-1980s the decline has been moderated and in a few countries even arrested as new technologies – especially biotechnology – and international trade extended the investment horizon.
Development and uptake of technologies require an enabling environment of sound and effective policies, institutions, legislation, infrastructure and human capacity. Along with research, development and extension, these critical factors must be improved in a comprehensive and integrated manner to enhance and sustain investment in agriculture.