Massive investment in agriculture is desperately needed to help fix the broken food system. Private sector investment can play a vital role in delivering inclusive economic growth, environmental sustainability and poverty reduction if it adheres to some key principles, such as focusing on local food markets, working with producer organisations and respecting the rights of small-scale producers, workers and communities.
However, in order to do no harm, large investments must uphold all labor and community rights. Also, governments need to incentivise the right kinds of private investment to flow into agriculture, as well as strongly regulate once the investments are made.
As part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign, we are advocating for increasing positive investment in sustainable small-scale food production. Unfortunately, the recent rising trend of large-scale land acquisitions is worrying because in some cases, small-scale producers’ rights have been abused and their land taken.
Therefore, it is critical now more than ever to understand what types of investment in agriculture are needed, how they should be governed, and how they can be beneficial for all stakeholders—companies, governments, and farmers.
Written by: Erinch Sahan, Private Sector Policy Advisor; and Monique Mikhail, Sustainable Agriculture Policy Advisor, Oxfam International