State of Food and Agriculture Report Highlights Importance of Farmer Investments

6 December 2012: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN's (FAO) new report, titled "The State of Food and Agriculture 2012," calls for new investment strategies centering on agricultural producers, rather than public investment or official development assistance (ODA). It notes that individual farmers are the largest investors in land worldwide.

This year's report underscores that the countries where farmers have had the largest amount of on-farm investment have made the most progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for hunger reduction. It also stresses factors that reduce farmers' investment incentives, relating to poor governance, insecure property rights, high levels of corruption and absence of rule of law. The report also highlights the effectiveness of investment in agricultural research, rural infrastructure and education, in comparison to subsidies for agricultural inputs, like fertilizers.

The report also calls for transparency, accountability, and social and environmental consideration in large-scale agriculture investments. It stresses the responsibility of donors and government to help smallholders overcome barriers to savings and investment. [UN Press Release] [Publication: The State of Food and Agriculture 2012]