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Topic: Measurement / Assessment

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Impacts of foreign agricultural investment in developing countries: evidence from case studies

by Pascal Liu, Senior Economist, Trade and Markets Division, FAO.  
 
Although there has been much debate about the potential benefits and risks of international investment, there is a lack of systematic evidence on the actual impacts on the host country and their determinants. This paper summarizes the results of FAO’s case studies on foreign investment in developing country agriculture.

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.

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What do we really know about the number and distribution of farms and family farms in the world?

The agricultural economics literature provides various estimates of the number of farms and small  farms in the world. This paper is an effort to provide a more complete and up to date as well as  carefully documented estimate of the total number of farms in the world, as well as by region and  level of income.

It uses data from numerous rounds of the World Census of Agriculture, the only  dataset available which allows the user to gain a complete picture of the total number of farms  globally and at the country level. The paper provides estimates of the number of family farms, the  number of farms by size as well as the distribution of farmland by farm size.

These estimates find that:  there are at least 570 million farms worldwide, of which more than 500 million can be considered  family farms. Most of the world’s farms are very small, with more than 475 million farms being less  than 2 hectares in size. Although the vast majority of the world’s farms are smaller than 2 hectares,  they operate only a small share of the world’s farmland. Farmland distribution would seem quite  unequal at the global level, but it is less so in low- and lower-middle-income countries as well as in  some regional groups.

These estimates have serious limitations and the collection of more up-to-date  agricultural census data, including data on farmland distribution is essential to our having a more representative picture of the number of farms, the number of family farms and farm size as well as farmland distribution worldwide. 

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Resilience Measurement Principles – Toward an Agenda for Measurement Design FSIN Technical Series No.1

The Food Security Information Network (FSIN)* supports the development and harmonization of methods and tools for food and nutrition security analysis. A technical working group composed of renowned experts was constituted to lead the development of a common analytical framework and technical guidelines for resilience measurement.

This paper is an initial step toward the development of resilience measurement design for use by stakeholders (e.g. programme staff, monitoring and evaluation, policy makers). It outlines:

  • A definition of resilience
  • A series of measurement design principles
  • General technical guidelines for Resilience Measurement commonly used to promote rigor in all measurement approaches
  • A set of substantive issues and analytical concerns

Url to the publication:  http://www.fsincop.net/resource-centre/detail/en/c/213177/

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Monitoring and analysing food and agricultural policies in Africa Synthesis report 2013

MAFAP’s Synthesis Report presents key findings from an unprecedented effort to systematically monitor and analyse the effects of food and agricultural policies in ten developing countries across Africa: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda.

Key findings from the report include the following and much more:

  • The policy environment and performance of domestic markets depressed producer prices by an average of ten percent between 2005 and 2010, though price disincentives are declining.
  • Most governments adopted market and trade policies to protect consumers and keep food prices down in the reference period, whilst budgetary transfers were mainly used to support producers.
  • Producer prices would improve significantly if market distortions from inefficiencies in domestic value chains were eliminated through better targeted policies and public spending. These inefficiencies, however, seem to be increasing in all ten countries surveyed.