R600bn is needed to feed poor

THE world needs to invest $83billion (R609billion) a year in agriculture in developing countries to feed 9,1billion people in 2050.

THE world needs to invest $83billion (R609billion) a year in agriculture in developing countries to feed 9,1billion people in 2050.

Primary agriculture investment needs include about $20billion a year for crop production and $13billion for livestock, the UN said yesterday, ahead of a forum to be held in Rome next week.

A further $50billion a year would be needed for downstream services, such as storage and processing facilities,

Most of this investment would have to come from private investors: farmers buying seeds, fertilisers and machinery and businesses investing in processing facilities, the UN said.

Public investments are needed in agriculture research and development, in big infrastructure projects such as building roads, ports, storage and irrigation systems - as well as into education and healthcare.

Sub-Saharan Africa would need about $11billion, Latin America and the Caribbean region would require about $20billion, the Middle East and North Africa $10billion, South Asia $20billion and East Asia $24billion.

But so-called "land grab" investments by rich nations in poor countries have raised political and economic concerns. Such deals should be designed in such a way as to boost benefits to host populations, increase their food security and reduce poverty, the UN said. - Reuters

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