Agriculture Investment In Developing Countries Must Increase By 50% To Feed 9.1B People By 2050, FAO Report Says

Developing countries need agriculture investments of $83 billion per year to meet the food needs of a projected 9.1 billion people by 2050, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports (10/8).

The $83 billion is a 50 percent increase from current levels, the U.N. News Centre reports, adding, “More than a third of this – $29 billion – would be needed for the two countries with the largest populations, India and China. Regionally, sub-Saharan Africa would require about $11 billion, Latin America and the Caribbean $20 billion, the Near East and North Africa $10 billion, South Asia $20 billion and East Asia $24 billion” (10/8).

According to Reuters, “World agriculture needs massive investments to raise overall output by 70 percent over the next 41 years, including almost doubled output in the developing countries … Primary agriculture investment needs include some $20 billion a year earmarked for crop production and $13 billion for livestock, the FAO said in a paper ahead of a forum on how to feed the world in 2050 it is due to hold on Oct. 12-13 in Rome” (Kovalyova, 10/8).

The report said, “Required investments include crops and livestock production as well as downstream support services such as cold chains, storage facilities, market facilities and first-stage processing,” AFP writes (10/8).

FAO’s Kostas Stamoulis said most of the $83 billion should come from the private sector, VOA News reports. “Most of this money, probably 75 percent, will be put by farmers themselves and by the private sector,” he said, adding that the public sector “has a very important role to play.” Stamoulis said, “[U]nless we provide farmers and food producers and agricultural producers with infrastructure like roads, development and info and institutions they will not invest.”

Stamoulis also notes the importance of proper distribution. “So there are two challenges. One is to make sure that we increase the productivity of agriculture to meet all demand for agricultural products, bio-fuels, food, feed, livestock, etc. But also the other challenge is to make sure that everybody by 2050 and possibly earlier should be able to access the food to eat that is produced,” he said (Hennessy, 10/8).

Bloomberg, New York Times Examine Food-Related Topics

In related news, Bloomberg reports on incorporating genetically-modified crops in African countries as a way to increase food production. “Monsanto Co., the world’s biggest seed producer, expects African countries to increase planting of genetically-modified crops to boost food security and economic development as the region is affected by climate change,” the news service writes.

Takaki Shigemoto, an analyst at research and investment company TOS, said that developing countries will become more accepting of “[g]enetic modification technology … as they face the problem of how to feed rapidly growing populations.” Shigemoto added, “Crops modified to produce better yields under limited water supply will be attractive to them” (Takada, 10/9).

The New York Times examines malnutrition in India. Although India’s economy is “booming,” there is a “ghost at the party, and its name is malnutrition,” the newspaper writes. “India is often compared — and often compares itself — with China, but the fact is that as China became an economic powerhouse it greatly reduced malnutrition.”

According to the New York Times, “Today only 7 percent of Chinese children under age 5 are underweight, whereas the figure for India is 43 percent. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, which most people assume to have the direst poverty statistics, the average child-malnutrition rate is 28 percent.” The article examines the causes of malnutrition in the country and discusses possible solutions (Rieff, 10/8). 

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