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FAO head warns on land-grabbing

Foreign investment as tool for development

Photo: ©FAO/Simone Casetta
FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf
12 May 2011, Rome/Istanbul – Sustainable foreign investment in least developed countries should make a real contribution to their growth through technology transfer, job creation and added income, according to FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

Speaking at a special event on sustainable agricultural investment held yesdterday in the framework of the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, Diouf said that such investments could become a source of conflict and would be unlikely to be sustainable unless they were implemented equitably.

Specifically, they should “recognize the rights of local stakeholders and domestic food security and rural development concerns,” Diouf declared.

Balanced contracts

“In order for such investments to be economically, socially and politically sustainable, they should be based on balanced contracts and partnerships safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders,” Diouf said.

Investment priorities should be set in the framework of a clear and coherent partnership strategy in order to achieve a balance between capital, opportunities and needs, he added.

According to FAO, the present level of private investment in least developed countries will need to increase by 50 percent in order to feed a world population expected to top nine billion in 2050.

FAO, the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) are preparing draft Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) that Respect Rights, Livelihoods and Resources. All stakeholders are being consulted.