FAO’s studies on foreign investment in developing country agriculture 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. 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 condition 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.
Developing country food systems have changed dramatically since the Green Revolution period. At the same time, malnutrition still represents a challenge and is now understood to encompass the three simultaneous dimensions of undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies, and over-nutrition manifest in overweight and obesity. These changes in food systems and in the understanding of the global malnutrition challenge necessitate fresh thinking about food systems-based strategies to reduce malnutrition. This paper introduces a special section that offers such new perspectives. We discuss trends with respect to indicators of the triple burden of malnutrition to understand the extent of global malnutrition challenges and then relate those to food systems transformation in developing countries.
a Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7801, USA
b Department of Economics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7801, USA
c Agricultural Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
d Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7801, USA
e Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
That Africa has become a net importer of food and of agricultural products, despite its vast agricultural potential, is puzzling. Using data mainly for the period 1960-2007, this report seeks to explain Africa’s food-trade deficit since the mid-1970s. The core finding is that population growth, low and stagnating agricultural productivity, policy distortions, weak institutions and poor infrastructure are the main reasons.
Pakistan has great potential in agriculture. About 27 percent of the total 79.6 million hectares of the country is under cultivation. Agriculture contributes about 24 percent of the GDP and employs 47 percent of the labour force. Most subsectors of agriculture have either remained static or have declined during the last three decades, with the exception of livestock. Therefore, there is considerable scope for improvement in production and in the processing of primary output. The World Bank, working in partnership with local and international collaborators, including the Investment Centre of FAO, has identified key areas that require priority interventions if the agricultural sector is to address the challenges of rural poverty, and maximize its contribution to export growth and national development. These areas are:
• Agricultural research and extension
• The seed sector
• Water resources
• Rural finance
This document outlines in detail the rationale for an intervention as well as the possible investment areas to support the Government of Pakistan in each subsector. Potential interventions that the Bank could champion are summarized below for each of these areas. The Bank appreciates that it is important that it work closely with all relevant stakeholders, and in particular, the National Agriculture Forum, in addressing the bottlenecks that are impairing the growth prospects of Pakistan’s agricultural sector.