Evidence from many countries shows that investing in these areas often has "much higher returns than spending on subsidies for agricultural inputs such as fertilizer." While such subsidies may be politically popular, they usually do not offer the highest returns.
Large-scale investments in agriculture
The report calls upon governments, international organizations, civil society and corporate investors to ensure that large-scale investments in agriculture, like the acquisition of land by private companies and funds, are transparent, accountable, socially beneficial and environmentally sustainable.
"The key word is good governance. We need to assure that the investments meet a certain set of conditions that assure that they contribute to food security and sustainable local development," said Graziano da Silva. Instruments like the new Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security, offer governments and communities support in negotiating contracts that are beneficial while respecting the rights, livelihoods and resources of the most vulnerable.
The CFS is also beginning a process to develop and ensure broad ownership of principles for responsible agricultural investment. These are expected to promote investments in agriculture that contribute to food security and nutrition, and to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.