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FAO Report Calls For Increased Investments In Global Agriculture To Eradicate Hunger

“Excessive corruption, poor infrastructure and scarce government resources were deterring investment in agriculture and contributing to high levels of malnourishment around the world,” Xinhua writes, noting the release on Thursday of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) annual report. “A new investment strategy is needed that puts agricultural producers at its center,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said, Xinhua notes. According to the report, farmers in low- and middle-income countries invest more than $170 billion annually in their farms, which is “three times as much as all other sources of investment combined, four times more than contributions by the public sector, and over 50 times more than official development assistance to these countries,” Xinhua reports (12/7). 

“The regions where hunger and extreme poverty are most widespread — South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa — have seen stagnant or declining rates of agricultural investment over three decades,” an FAO press release states. According to the press release, the report notes that “eradicating hunger in these and other regions, and achieving this sustainably, will require substantial increases in the level of farm investment in agriculture and dramatic improvements in both the level and quality of government investment in the sector.” While the report cites signs of improvement, it also says that farmers in low- and middle-income often face weak incentives to invest, such as “poor governance; absence of rule of law; high levels of corruption; insecure property rights; arbitrary trade practices; high ‘taxation’ of agriculture relative to other sectors; and inadequate levels and quality of rural infrastructure and public services,” according to the press release. The report makes recommendations to encourage farmer investment and calls on governments to improve their agricultural investments, the press release notes (12/6).