The challenge of promoting responsible investment in agriculture and food systems in Guatemala
A total of 25 actors from the public and private sectors and civil society participated in a meeting focused on evaluating responsible investments made in the Guatemalan agricultural sector.
With the goal of assessing responsible investments in agriculture and food systems, a multisectorial workshop was recently held with the participation of 25 representatives from the public and private sectors as well as civil society. FAO and IDLO provided support for this activity.
The agricultural sector in Guatemala is of substantive socioeconomic relevance. Over 50% of the rural population is dedicated to agricultural activities. Agricultural production and agroindustry represent 23% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
"By increasing our understanding of Guatemala's specific challenges, we will have an adequate basis to increase responsible investment in agriculture, which is an urgent necessity," commented Maynor Estrada, Assistant FAO Representative in Guatemala, during the activity's inauguration.
"A favorable, appropriate legal environment is essential to increase responsible investments in agricultural and food systems. The \ IDLO and FAO's collaboration in agriculture and food systems issues underlines the key role of the rule of law in sustainable development issues and its importance across the board," stated Elena Incisa Di Camerana, IDLO Regional Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The assessment's findings include an emphasis on the link between investment and the development of the agricultural sector.
From 2007 to 2012, an average of 25% of the public budget was allocated to social development, that is USD $2.017 billion per year. Only 9% of the public spending for rural development was allocated to strengthening this sector, and it was used for direct assistance to producers and general support for the sector, which only accounts for an average of 2.8% of total public expenditure, one of the lowest in Latin America.
Women, youth and indigenous peoples: the most disadvantaged populations
Sectors including women, indigenous peoples and youth are essential to responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. In consecutive order, the data shows why they should be taken into account: despite the fact that women account for 51% of the Guatemalan population, only 6.9% own arable land; indigenous people account for 41% of Guatemala's population, most of whom live in poverty; and 68% of the Guatemalan population is under the age of 30.
The increase in investment in agriculture is crucial to eradicating hunger and poverty. On a global scale, FAO estimates that an additional USD $265 billion in annual investments are needed to achieve the first two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In regard to Guatemala, the additional annual investments that would be required to eradicate hunger and poverty are estimated at USD $444 million, approximately one third of which are intended to go to agriculture and rural development.
Principles for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems
The Committee on World Food Security (CSA) adopted 10 Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems on October 15, 2014.
1. Contribute to food security and nutrition
2. Contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic development and the eradication of poverty
3. Foster gender equality and women’s empowerment
4. Engage and empower youth
5. Respect tenure of land, fisheries, and forests, and access to water
6. Conserve and sustainably manage natural resources, increase resilience, and reduce disaster risks
7. Respect cultural heritage and traditional knowledge, and support diversity and innovation
8. Promote safe and healthy agriculture and food systems
9. Incorporate inclusive and transparent governance structures, processes, and grievance mechanisms
10. Assess and address impacts and promote accountability