Involving local farmers is key to success of foreign investment: FAO

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Security of land tenure is vital

Foreign investments that involved local farmers and leave them in control of their land stand a better chance of improving local economies and social development.

That's the conclusion of a report titled "Trends and Impacts of Foreign Investment in Developing Country Agriculture," issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday.

Charles Appel reports.

The FAO report offers a number of case studies on the impact of foreign investment in Africa and Asia, including large-scale land deals or what is called "land grabbing."

It says that capital management, marketing expertise and technology, which investors bring, are most successful when they are combined with labour, land and local knowledge.

The report advises against acquisition of already utilized land to establish new large farms.

It warns that since a majority of foreign investment projects in new large farms are for export or the production of biofuels, they may threaten food security in countries that don't have enough food.

Other potential negative impacts, it adds, include the displacement of smallholders, the loss of grazing land for pastoralists and the loss of income and livelihoods for rural people, and the degradation of natural resources.

The report says there are alternatives to land acquisition such as contract farming deals, schemes that give farmers a share of the capital, and joint ventures between investing companies and farmer cooperatives.

Charles Appel, United Nations.

Duration: 1’07″

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