Enhancing Private Sector Involvement in Agricultural and Rural Infrastructure Development

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Matt Bennett
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NEW REPORT FINDS $90 BILLION ANNUAL AGRICULTURAL INVESTMENT GAP
ENHANCED PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT REQUIRED TO MEET NEEDS OF 9 BILLION BY 2050

WASHINGTON D.C./June 27, 2011 – The Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) today released its final policy issue brief which estimates a $90 billion annual agricultural investment gap and outlines the significant role of the private sector in closing this gap and addressing global food security.

The policy issue brief, “Enhancing Private Sector Involvement in Agriculture and Rural Infrastructure Development,” points to the private sector as one of the key influencers in creating economic growth, raising global incomes, and feeding a population anticipated to reach nine billion people by 2050.

“With a $90 billion annual investment gap in the agricultural sector of developing countries, the task of doubling agricultural productivity in 40 years is a formidable one,” said Dr. William G. Lesher, Executive Director of the Global Harvest Initiative. “There are simply not enough resources in either developed or developing nations to bridge this sizable gap, so enhanced private sector involvement is the key to improving agricultural and rural development to ensure that the world’s future agricultural needs are met.”

The policy issue brief outlines several recommendations to enhance private sector involvement, including the importance of establishing government/industry partnerships, working to improve the business climate and rural infrastructure in developing countries, and encouraging these countries to devote more resources for overall development to attract private capital. GHI Consultative Partners and advisors, who share GHI’s concern about a growing agricultural productivity gap and the need to protect natural resources while feeding an increased population, have weighed in on the role of the private sector:

“If the world does not address sustainable food production methods, we will face land degradation and extinction of vital species, and loss of natural habitats for farming and wildlife. By leveraging the expertise of corporations, NGOs, and others we can make great strides through market-oriented solutions in conservation and sustainability worldwide.”
— David H. Barron, Founder, International Conservation Caucus Foundation

“Whatever is sustainable today will not be sustainable in 2050 when the global population reaches nine billion. In order to achieve long-term sustainability, we must figure out how to produce more with less, and the private sector must play a crucial role if we are to be successful.”
— Dr. Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Market Transformation, World Wildlife Fund

“Reducing hunger on a global scale will require significant involvement from the private sector, and facilitating the potential for the private sector’s support of rural and agricultural development throughout the world can help raise global incomes and alleviate hunger worldwide.”
— Dr. Margaret Zeigler, Deputy Director, Congressional Hunger Center

“The demand for agricultural commodities is rising around the globe, and we must engage the private sector as key drivers of land-use change to help make global agriculture more sustainable and protect the planet for future generations.”
— David Cleary, Strategic Director for Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy

“Many challenges lie ahead with the need to increase the annual rate of agricultural productivity growth by 25 percent. As we concluded in Farm Foundation’s report on the 30 Year Challenge, we are confident the world’s agriculture producers will rise to the challenge of closing the productivity gap given the right tools and incentives for the 21st Century.”
— Dr. Neil Conklin, President, Farm Foundation, NFP and co-author, GHI GAP Report™

The information in the policy issue brief released today draws from a study commissioned by GHI and developed by Agriculture Economist, Dr. William Motes, titled “Global Food and Agriculture Productivity: The Investment Challenge.”

The recently-released series of issue briefs by GHI address five policies that will have the greatest impact on improving the rate of growth in agricultural productivity to address global food security and hunger: improving agricultural research, removing barriers to agricultural trade, strengthening and streamlining development assistance programs, embracing science-based technologies, and the policy issue brief released today on enhancing the role of the private sector in agricultural and rural development. The issue brief series can be found at: http://www.globalharvestinitiative.org/index.php/policy-center/

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About the Global Harvest Initiative:  The Global Harvest Initiative was established in 2009 as a partnership among Archer Daniels Midland Company, DuPont, John Deere, and Monsanto with the goal of addressing hunger and food insecurity by sustainably closing the global agricultural productivity gap.  For information about GHI membership, programs, and to access studies, reports and resources, visit:  http://www.globalharvestinitiative.org. Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/Harvest2050 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GlobalHarvestInitiative