International Investment and Local Food Security
James Zhan, Hafiz Mirza, and William Speller
- International private investments in agriculture can help the world meet the Zero Hunger goal by boosting food security and nutrition and supporting development.
- International investments can: create jobs; develop rural infrastructure; connect smallholders to global markets; introduce new productivity-enhancing technologies; and improve access to finance for farmers.
- Benefits are felt through increases in production, improved value chains, rising rural incomes, infrastructure development, increased use of digital and other technology, and higher safety and quality standards for food.
- A study of 50 major private agribusiness investments in Africa and Asia found that the greatest benefit was improved ability of local people to buy more food and more nutritious food.
- Without proper governance and screening, international investments can have negative impacts, including violations of people’s rights and access to land.
- Align food security and nutrition targets with broader national development strategies, with attention to the role of private investment.
- Promote and facilitate investment in staple and cash crops in food insecure regions.
- Support public-private partnerships for agro-infrastructure to link farms to markets and attract investment.
- Improve access to digital technology from farmer to consumer to address information needs for productive investments.
- Ensure responsible investing by implementing agricultural investment principles and supporting government screening of investments through technical assistance to host governments.
- Give preference to business models that fairly integrate smallholders through contract farming or outgrower schemes.
- Prioritize investments that support women’s empowerment, given women’s key role in food and nutrition security, as well as improve the position of vulnerable groups such as youth and pastoralists.
- Develop a data collection consortium to improve data on international investment in agriculture.