By far the largest source of investment in agriculture are farmers. Their investments are often limited by unfavourable investment climates. Therefore FAO launched a new investment strategy that puts agricultural producers at its centre. The challenge is to focus the investments in areas where they can make a difference. This is important to guarantee that investments will result in high economic and social returns and environmental sustainability. The goals of investment in agriculture are:
- To promote agricultural growth
- To reduce poverty and hunger
- To promote environmental sustanbility.
New data show that farmers in low- and middle-income countries invest more than $170 billion a year in their farms – about $150 per farmer. This is three times as much as all other sources of investment combined, four times more than contributions by the public sector, and more than 50 times more than official development assistance to these countries. Investing in agriculture is clearly paying off, as confirmed by the countries with the highest rates of on-farm which investment have made the most progress in halving hunger. There are signs of improvement, but eradicating hunger and achieving this sustainably, will require substantial increases in the level of farm investment in agriculture and dramatic improvements in both the level and quality of government investment in the sector. Farmers must be central to any investment strategy because they are the largest investors in developing country agriculture.