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Food security and the transition region

Working paper prepared under the FAO/EBRD Cooperation for presentation at EBRD's Grant Planning Meeting London, 29 Novemebr 2013







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    Document
    Innovative agricultural finance and risk management. Strengthening food production and trade in the transition region
    FAO Investment Centre. Directions in Investment No. 7
    2012
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    Ensuring that food production keeps up with population and income growth, changing dietary patterns and climate conditions in the decades to come is but one of the challenges currently facing developing and advanced countries around the globe. The world’s population is expected to stabilize at around 9.1 billion people in 2050, a 30 percent increase from current numbers, but demand for food will grow by 70 percent. To keep up with the pace of demand growth, yields need to improve drastically, y et there is little scope to expand acreage. Transition countries, some of which face food security problems of their own, can play an important role in achieving global food security as yields can be improved. Countries such as Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, which have been net grain importers up to the late 1980s, can emerge as the world’s leading grain exporters. In order to meet rising food demand, significant investment from the private sector will be required in these tra nsition countries. Such investment needs to be catalysed through supportive policy and regulatory, legal and institutional frameworks. International financial institutions, in turn, can facilitate the creation of these frameworks in transition country governments. This paper focuses on one particularly important action area: how can various agricultural finance and risk management products, mechanisms and institutions that are relatively new to the transition region, enhance the region’s food production, processing and trading systems? These products, mechanisms and institutions include: market-based price risk management, weather index insurance, structured finance and other innovative forms of finance, warehouse receipt (WHR) systems and commodity exchanges. The paper aims to identify how international financial institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) can most effectively leverage their investments and technical assistance programmes to boos t the adoption and scaling up of such products, mechanisms and institutions
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    Booklet
    Climate-Smart Agriculture in Guinea-Bissau 2019
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    The climate smart agriculture (CSA) concept reflects an ambition to improve the integration of agriculture development and climate responsiveness. It aims to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand. CSA initiatives sustainably increase productivity, enhance resilience, and reduce/remove greenhouse gases (GHGs), and require planning to address trade-offs and synergies between three pillars: productivity, adaptation and mitigation. The priorities of different countries and stakeholders are reflected to achieve more efficient, effective, and equitable food systems that address challenges in environment, social, and economic dimensions across productive landscapes. The country profile provides a snapshot of a developing baseline created to initiate discussion, both within countries and globally, about entry points for investing in CSA at scale. The agricultural sector is the main stay of the economy of Guinea-Bissau. In the absence of other resources, the sector despite being underdeveloped plays a leading role in supporting food security and job creation. Presently it contributes about 46% of national gross domestic product (GDP) with 84% of the population actively employed in primary production agriculture largely dominated by women. The majority of these farmer are small scale farmers farming on less than two hectare (2 ha). More than half (58%) of the total land in Guinea-Bissau is used for agriculture with area under forest heavily degraded by rapid exploitation. However, there are huge potentials for agricultural and forestry land including arable land estimated at about 1.5 million hectares. Farmers engage in the production of diverse crops and livestock such as cashew, rice (country’s staple food), sorghum, maize, etc largely cultivated by subsistence farmers. Women usually take up horticulture in the urban areas. Livestock production concentrated mainly in the north and east of the country is one of the main economic activities supporting food security and thousands of livelihoods. The country is divided into three agroecological zones based on ecological, climatic and demographic characteristics. Agriculture is mainly rainfed with very limited irrigated farming practised. About 82% of water withdrawn is used for agricultural purposes impelling a necessity for huge investments in irrigation to support agriculture production. The projected population growth and food demand is expected to have serious implications on food security with a potential to affect the agricultural sector. Despite the agro-forestry-pastoral potential and fisheries resources of Guinea-Bissau, many studies have shown that, the current food situation in the country is very precarious with poverty identified as the underlining cause. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from the agricultural sector has been identified as very high with the country indicating reforestation as the major action for mitigating GHG emissions in its nationally determined contribution (NDC). Some challenges for the agricultural sector identified include (i) growth in population and food demand, (ii) land use change and natural resource depletion, (iii) limited marketing opportunities of agricultural commodities, and (iv) climate change and variability. Guinea-Bissau has a typical hot, humid monsoon-like tropical climate with two well-defined seasons. Agriculture is exposed to the effects of climate change with the country vulnerable to droughts, floods and sea level rise. The projected changes in temperature and rainfall are expected to have substantial impact on water resources which are already limited in their capacity to provide sufficient water for the agriculture sector. CSA technologies and practises present opportunities for addressing climate change challenges as well as for economic growth and development of the agriculture sector. Identified CSA practises in use in the country include (i) use of organic manure, (ii) use of weather information, (iii) water supply through drip irrigation, (iv) anti-erosion arrangement, (v) forage/fodder production, (vi) crop rotation, and (vii) rainwater harvesting through the Zai technique. There are a number of institutions and policies aimed at supporting and increasing agriculture productivity and advancing CSA practises in Guinea-Bissau. These include government, private sector, the national institute for agrarian research and general directorate of rural engineering with each most of the institutions profiles having CSA-related activities that deliver on all three pillars of CSA. The Ministry of environment which serves as the country’s UNFCCC focal point and Nationally Designated Authority to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation fund, Climate Investment Fund and Global Environment Facility is responsible for the country’s climate change plans and policies. The food and agriculture organisation of the United Nations, the United Nations development programme and the international union for conservation of nature play instrumental roles in the promotion of sustainable agriculture and environmental sustainability. Most of the climate change and CSA-related funding have come from international sources with the UNDP being of great support through its signature programmes.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    International Investments in Agriculture in the Near East
    Evidence from Egypt, Morocco and Sudan
    2011
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    The food crisis of 2007- 2008 sparked an increase in investment flows to agriculture in the Near East, particularly to countries rich in water and land resources, such as Sudan. These investments have continued to increase during 2009 - 2010, as food prices continue to remain high. This publication was motivated by this surge in international investments in agriculture. and the-. need to answer some key policy questions, through and a brief review of international investments in the region, and an exploratory analysis of the issues and challenges in the policy arena. Three case studies in Egypt, Morocco and Sudan were commissioned by the FAO Regional Office for the Near East. The purpose was to (i) identify past and current investment trends in terms of the actors involved, modalities, size and impact (to the extent that information is available), (ii) assess these investments in the context of the region and its food security challenges, and (iii) identify areas to be addressed by pol icy makers to ensure food security in the long run and provide a starting point to evaluate investments for timely and targeted policy measures. While information on international investments in agriculture is not readily available, the case studies provide an overall picture of agriculture investments, specifically focusing on foreign direct investments. The share of international investments to agriculture has traditionally been very low in the region. With a an average share of 1- 2% of total FDI, this investment is mostly concentrated in sectors other than primary agriculture. In the past few years, investments in agriculture have grown remarkably; however, information on their allocation and impact is incomplete and fast changing. Impacts of agricultural investments in the past have been mixed and concentrated in capital and resource intensive activities which are largely supported by the public sector. Sudan has attracted resource seeking investments, whereas Morocco and Egypt co ntinue to be investment destinations for market seeking investments, in the food processing and fruit and vegetable production sectors. The involvement of the private sector in investment in agriculture is growing but there is still a strong government presence in supporting these investments, often through direct and indirect subsidies in most countries. The historical experience of the region is instructive in terms of improving the efficiency of future investments in agriculture as well as en suring sustainable outcomes. Some of the salient features of international investments in agriculture can be summarized as follows: • Intra-regional investment in agriculture constitutes the bulk of the international investment in agriculture in the Near East. • Countries such as Egypt and Sudan are the largest recipients of recent international investments in food and agriculture, mostly from the Gulf States but also from other countries such as China and South Korea. Other countries in the reg ion are also heavily investing in agriculture and food sectors overseas, and beyond the Near East, including in Asia and Latin America. • Whether investor or host country, the common driving factor for international investments in agriculture in the region is food security concerns. The investment policies of most countries in the region are geared toward attracting investments. They are therefore relatively open and do not differentiate between the different sectors or the different types of ac tivities within agriculture. Agriculture, as an investment category, has been growing rapidly in the last three years, and most countries (especially the poorest) have not yet had the time to align their investment strategies with their national food security objectives. Given the rapid growth in agricultural investment, caution needs to be exercised by investor and host country governments, as well as private investors, to develop sustainable solutions and incorporate a long term perspective to support healthy and profitable investments. Given the diverse national and household food security concerns and resource availabilities, a regional focus on food security may be needed to better formulate and harmonize policies as well as tap into opportunities. The potential capacity for staple food production has its limits, but income generating opportunities are ample. A mix of investments geared at food processing, food service, and other sectors linked to agriculture, could also provide a lternative income opportunities for rural people, as well as increased employment opportunities in urban areas. Within this context, regional initiatives could be very promising in promoting food security in the longer term.

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