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Support to Investment

Investment Programme Support

Countries that have consistently invested in their agriculture sectors over the last few decades have also had the most success in boosting food production and productivity and in reducing hunger and malnutrition. FAO supports developing and transition countries with investment operations. This includes support to the design, implementation, supervision and evaluation of agricultural investment plans, programmes and projects.

A large portion of FAO’s support to investment is carried out through three-way partnerships with member countries and international financing institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and regional development banks, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). To date, FAO's work with IFIs has helped leverage investments valued at over USD 115 billion. FAO also works closely with producer organizations and small-scale farmers to make sure they are fully involved in the investment decisions that will affect their lives and livelihoods.

FAO draws on a vast resource of technical expertise, including a dedicated Investment Centre with around 95 agricultural investment specialists, including 20 officers based in FAO regional and subregional offices. This team carries out roughly 800 missions a year to formulate and implement programmes and projects, assess progress at various points and provide technical support to enhance quality and effectiveness.

FAO's support to investment covers areas such as land, water, irrigation, forestry, livestock and agro-industries. It may also focus on cross-cutting issues such as family farming, territorial approaches, gender and nutrition mainstreaming, integrated natural resources management, climate smart agriculture and carbon balancing, among others.

FAO carries out socioeconomic assessments and gender analyses to better link investment programmes or projects to the needs of targeted beneficiaries. It also ensures that environmental concerns influence the design of every investment project or programme. 

Success stories

Supporting country investment plans

Following the 2007/08 food price crisis, the Government of Bangladesh asked the FAO country office and Investment Centre to develop a Country Investment Plan, identifying priority investments in agriculture, food security and nutrition. The five-year plan built on the National Food Policy, developed with FAO support. Eleven ministries, civil society, academics and development partners, including FAO, were involved in producing an updated version. The plan, with its 12 priority investment areas, was designed to align domestic and external funding to enhance coordination and avoid gaps and duplication, with a mechanism in place to monitor results. From 2010 to 2014 an additional USD 4.5 billion in resources were mobilized.

Sustainable multipurpose forest plantations

In 2008, a severe ice storm affected around 22 million hectares of forests in central and southern China, causing roughly USD 9 billion in losses. In Hunan Province, 35 percent of the forest area was partially or totally destroyed. Forest stands containing a combination of native species in multistorey planted forests suffered less damage than those with coniferous monocultures. FAO is supporting two World Bank-financed projects aimed at creating more resilient planted forests that feature a mix of native, locally adapted species. One project aims to establish 58,900 hectares of multipurpose planted forests through reforestation and restoration in 22 counties. The other seeks to establish 93,000 hectares of new multifunction planted forests in four provinces (Anhui, Hebei, Lianoning and Shanxi) and rehabilitate around 39,600 hectares of existing degraded forests in Anhui and Zhejiang Provinces.

Watershed management in India

FAO is working with the World Bank in India to assist state and federal government to design new generation watershed projects. A new project in Karnataka aims to scale up and strengthen the government schemes with new tools, approaches and means of incorporating more scientific information into watershed basin planning, and to create efficient institutional linkages with agriculture and rural employment schemes. The project also seeks to build capacity of relevant departments and staff to monitor the performance of their services and environmental change.  Based on this design, FAO was also involved in the design of the Neeranchal National Watershed Project, which aims to roll out and scale up similar support across the country for the over USD 1 billion national Integrated Watershed Management Programme.

Productive alliances provide dependable household incomes

Productive alliances are formal agreements that bring together small-scale producer organizations with commercial buyers. They also involve an investment in production and marketing as well as technical assistance. FAO has been working closely with the World Bank and governments to carry out productive alliance projects in many countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Such alliances help create employment and increase incomes by ensuring rural producers have a reliable market for their goods. They also facilitate knowledge sharing on best production and marketing practices. These alliances ensure buyers have a consistent supply of products that meet certain quality and safety standards. More than 100,000 families − about half a million people − are currently benefitting from these projects. The goal is to triple the number of beneficiaries in the near future.

Addressing land tenure in Latin America and the Caribbean

Developing and implementing land policies that benefit disadvantaged farmers, boost agricultural production and improve food security require complex and long-term investments. Since early 2000, FAO's Investment Centre has collaborated with FAO's land tenure team and the World Bank on land access, security of tenure and land administration issues. In Latin America and the Caribbean, FAO has focused on institutional strengthening. It has also supported national initiatives on the recognition of indigenous peoples' territories, especially in Honduras, Guatemala and Bolivia. Along with the World Bank, the Investment Centre developed a toolkit on conducting monitoring and evaluation systems for land administration programmes in the region to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the projects' implementation, as well as their impact on institutions, municipalities, indigenous territories and households.

Building resilience in the Sahel

The Investment Centre is assisting in the design of a World Bank-funded
USD 250 million regional project for support to pastoralism in the Sahel to enhance livelihood resilience of pastoralists in cross-border, drought-prone areas of six semi-arid to arid countries in West Africa: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. To inform the design, the Investment Centre carried out a stock-taking exercise of lessons learned to identify activities proven to be effective in supporting pastoralist groups and enhancing regional integration with potential for significant spill-over effects. The on-the-job training provided to the national teams for the project appraisal document formulation is facilitating national leadership and country ownership.