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Re: Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investments

Aksel Naerstad
Aksel Naerstad Development FundNorway

Principples for responsible investments in agriculture.

Comments from Aksel Naerstad, coordinator of the More and Better Network (  and Senior policy advisor in the Development Fund (

These comments are made with inputs from discussions with members and nonmembers of the More and Better Network. The do not necessarily represent the views of all members of the network.  Many important points are raised in the regional consultations and by inputs from organizations and individuals. The comments and inputs below will only highlight a few important issues, not repeat most of the comments and inputs from others which we agree in.

Some general comments

It is very important to develop and get agreements on principles for responsible investments in agriculture. The principles should aim at

Increasing responsible investments in  sustainable agriculture, with the primary focus to support the majority of the farmers and those who produce most of the food in the world – the small scale food producers.

Guide all kind of investors in agriculture – farmers, governments, institutions and private investors – so they will invest in responsible ways  in sustainable agricultural production.

 Being a tool for governments, institutions and civil society to stop irresponsible investments, including investments in landgrabbing and in non-sustainable agriculture.


The principles should focus on the small scale food producers, with a special focus on the role and needs for women.

There should be underlined the need for clear public policies and actions for small scale farmers to enable them to invest in agroecological and other forms of sustainable food production.

Agricultural production need to be sustainable. Investments in non-sustainable agriculture are not responsible investments. The principles need to be clear on this.

Human rights need to be the base for the principles.  Food sovereignty which includes the right to food and farmers’ rights should be supported and promoted by the principles.

‘Do not harm’-approach should be included in the principples.


1. Are all relevant issues and areas related to fostering responsible agricultural investments adequately addressed in the Zero Draft? If not, what should be changed?

There is a need to clearly define  responsible investments.

The central role of small scale food producers should be more clear in the principples.

There should be a clear distinction between different kind of investors – farmers, governments, foundations, private investors …

The draft focus too much on increasing production. Enough food is produced today to nourish more than 10 billion people. There is a need to focus in losses and waist, food used for other purposes (biofuel etc) and on the quality and nutrition of food – not only on the quantity.

The multifunctioning role of agriculture should be underlined. Food production is the core, but agriculture plays a major role also when it comes to economy, employment, environment, health and culture.


2. Are the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders clearly defined in order to facilitate implementation of the principles? If not, what should be changed?

The role of women should be highlighted more.

Local markets should be highlighted as the most important, then national markets. International markets play an important role in many contexts, but  less than 15 % of the food cross borders.

There is a need to distinct more clear between different actors.

The role of governments to provide public policies en create an enabling environment  for sustainable and responsible investments with a focus on the need of small scale food producers should be underlined.

It might be good to make a reference to the CFS report and decisions on small scale farmers and investments.

The role and responsibilities of governments to stop landgrabbing and investments in unsustainable agriculture should be clearly spelt out.


3. Does the Zero Draft achieve the desired outcome to promote investments in agriculture that contributes to food security and supports the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security? If not, what should be changed?

The different roles and responsibilities of different actors should be more clearly outlined.

There should be clearly stated that sustainability and resilience of agricultural production systems is a clear goal and guidelines  for responsible investments.

A clear emphasis should be put on the importance of investments in agroecological and other forms of sustainable agriculture.


4. The principles are intended to provide practical guidance to stakeholders; therefore:

  • Are the current structure and language used clear and accessible for all relevant stakeholders to apply?

The document will be more clear and accessible for all relevant stakeholders to apple if the the proposals and recommendations above are included in the principles.

  • What steps need to be taken for the CFS-RAI principles to be used and implemented by different stakeholders after endorsement by CFS?

Inclusive national processes should be encouraged in all countries to implement the principles and to monitor how they are being implemented. 

Government should regularly report to CFS on how the principles are implemented.

International evaluation of the principles and the implementation should take place with participation of all stakeholders  every 3-5 years – and  whenever needed.


Aksel Naerstad

Senior policy adviser, The Development Fund, Norway (

International coordinator of the More and Better Network (


Mobile phone: +47 48 25 82 85

Phone office: +47 23 10 96 00 / 23 10 95 91,

Fax: +47 23 10 96 01

Skype: akselnaerstad

Postal address: Mariboes gate 8,N- 0183 Oslo, Norway,