$83 billion needed yearly to feed the world

Oct 9, 2009
by DTN
$83 billion needed yearly to feed the world

The world needs to invest $83 billion a year in agriculture in developing countries to feed 9.1 billion people in 2050, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said last Thursday.

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 to feed a projected extra 2.3 billion people by 2050, FAO said.

Primary agriculture investment needs include some $20 billion a year earmarked for crop production and $13 billion for livestock, FAO said in a paper ahead of a forum on how to feed the world in 2050 scheduled for Oct. 12-13 in Rome.

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

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

On top of this, 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, FAO said.

Much-needed official de velopment assistance to agriculture plunged 58 percent in real terms from 1980 to 2005, dropping from a 17 percent share of total aid to 3.8 percent over the period. It now stands at about 5 percent, it said.

Up to $29 billion of the $83 billion projected annual net investments in agriculture would need to be spent in the two countries with the largest populations—India and China.

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