Promoting Investment in agriculture
The Technical Cooperation Department actively promotes investment by governments and donors in agriculture. Investment in agriculture is an essential element of poverty eradication and sustainable development particularly as 70 percent of the global poor live in rural areas. In addition to resource mobilization for global projects and programmes, the Department helps developing countries to formulate effective investment policies and to prepare projects and programmes that can then be funded by international financing institutions (IFIs) and bilateral donors with co-financing from local resources.
The Technical Cooperation Department works closely with banks and governments in the formulation of the agricultural sector components of Poverty Reduction Strategies which have become a prerequisite for countries seeking World Bank concessional loans and grants and International Monetary Fund assistance and shape the portfolios of all financing institutions and donors.
In some cases the Department, through the FAO Investment Centre, carries out agricultural sector reviews and develops sectoral investment policy and strategy frameworks. Most of the Centre's activity, however, is related to specific investment projects scheduled for financing by IFIs - designing them, assessing their technical and economic viability and their potential environmental and social impact, and subsequently helping with implementation and evaluation.
Much of this work is now concentrated in Africa, where there are major challenges facing agriculture and rural development, but the Centre also continues to assist in planning investments in Asia, Latin America, the Near East and the Pacific and in the emerging market economies of Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia.
In a typical year the Investment Centre's total operational expenditure is approximately US$ 25 million of which FAO provides around US$ 9 million; the remainder comes from the IFIs. This activity helps generate substantial sums of investment - each year the Centre is associated with projects and programmes that have a value of approximately US$3 billion.
Each year the Investment Centre, part of the TC Department, organizes more than 600 field missions for 140 investment projects in around 100 countries. One of the most important tasks of these missions is to engage the participation of farmers and other local groups.