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Agrinvest update 23 May 2019

New FAO study calls for investment in disaster prevention and risk reduction at the farm level

Agriculture is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, but their impacts can be reduced in many ways and at different levels.  According to the new FAO study Disaster risk reduction at farm level: Multiple benefits, no regrets, investments in prevention and risk reduction (DDR) at the farm level is a smarter use of financial resources compared with costly spending on reconstruction and rehabilitation. In addition, good practices in DRR at the farm level also add value to production. In other words, investment in DRR can both reduce risks and increase returns of investments. The study thus provides a compelling argument in favour of incorporating DDR into existing agronomic and natural resources management practices.

Documentation of study tour of agricultural growth poles and corridors

Many developing countries struggling with attracting investment into their agricultural sectors are establishing agricultural growth poles and corridors (agropoles) that are expected to encourage private investment and facilitate agro-industrial development. The implementation of agropoles generally involves public-private partnerships and large investment infrastructure. While they have the potential to benefit the rural poor by for example providing market opportunities and employment, critics have argued that many projects have excluded small-scale producers, undermined food security and breached land rights. During April 2019, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) did a two-week study tour of agropoles with the aim of exploring the pros and cons of this growing trend. The IISD team documented their experiences in a series of blog articles that can be found at

Researchers call for responsible innovation framework

According to the article “Agriculture 4.0: Broadening Responsible Innovation in an Era of Smart Farming” in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, the ongoing fourth revolution in agriculture is supported by considerable private and public investments and policy strategies such as sustainable intensification. The article describes the earlier agricultural revolutions as 1) the transition from hunting to settled agriculture, 2) the British agricultural revolution in the 18th century and 3) post-war productivity increases associated with mechanization and the Green Revolution in the developing world. The fourth agricultural revolution, often referred to as “Agriculture 4.0”, is associated with artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things and other smart technologies. It has been argued that Agriculture 4.0 has the potential to change rural societies beyond recognition, that the social implications have been disregarded, and there is a risk of new technologies having unforeseen negative impacts. Therefore, the article proposes that a robust framework for responsible innovation in agriculture is needed to shape innovation trajectories within Agriculture 4.0, based on: 1) a systemic approach that maps and attends to the wider ecology of innovations; 2) a broadening of notions of inclusion in responsible innovation, and 3) comprehensive testing of frameworks in practice to see if they are capable of making innovation processes more responsible.

Global Soil Week and sustainable land management

The Global Soil Week (GSW) 2019 is held in Nairobi, Kenya, 26-30 May. Stemming from a need for inclusive investments in sustainable land management, the theme of this year’s GSW is “Creating an Enabling Environment for Sustainable and Climate Resilient Agriculture in Africa”. The conference will gather 200 experts, policymakers and civil society representatives.  

A new agriculture sector transformation and growth strategy for Kenya

The Government of Kenya recently launched its new Agricultural sector transformation and growth strategy, consisting of nine targets related to incomes of farmers, food resilience of households, agricultural output and value addition, knowledge and skills development.  The first target is to link one million farmers, pastoralists and fisher-folk with 1000 small and medium enterprises that would facilitate irrigation, processing, and post-harvest aggregation.  Another target is to establish private large-scale farms above the size of 2,500 acres on up to 500,000 acres of predominantly state-owned land. The strategy also includes capacity development activities and public investment in infrastructure including irrigation, roads, and electricity.





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