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Oct 8, 2009
Agriculture needs billions

ROME - DEVELOPING countries need investments of US$83 billion (S$115 billion) a year if there is to be enough food to feed the world's expected 9.1 billion people by 2050, the UN food agency said on Thursday.

'Required investments include crops and livestock production as well as downstream support services such as cold chains, storage facilities, market facilities and first-stage processing,' the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report.

'The projected investment needs to 2050 include some $20 billion going to crops production and 13 billion dollars going to livestock production,' it said.

'Mechanisation would account for the single biggest investment area followed by expansion and improvement of irrigation. A further $50 billion would be needed for downstream services to help achieve a global 70 per cent expansion in agricultural production by 2050.'

The report said that most of this investment, in both primary agriculture and downstream services, 'will come from private investors, including farmers purchasing implements and machinery and businesses investing in processing facilities'. But public funds would also be needed to achieve a better functioning of the agricultural system and food security.

'Priority areas for such public investments include: 1) agricultural research and development; 2) large-scale infrastructure such as roads, ports and power, and agricultural institutions and extension services; and 3) education, particularly of women, sanitation, clean water supply and healthcare.' -- AFP

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