In the Mekong region, agriculture (including forestry and fisheries) employs over 43% of the population and contributes to around 16% to the regional GDP, making it an important sector for investment. Agricultural investment can be key to support economic growth, enhance food security and nutrition and reduce poverty, thereby contributing to the Agenda 2030. Yet, this investment must be responsible to generate sustainable benefits.
Governments play an important role in creating an enabling environment that facilitates and supports responsible agricultural investment by small-scale producers and other private sector investors. Strategic policy interventions, such as targeted investment incentives, can help to steer investors to invest more and in a responsible manner. However, incentives may be ineffective, and even detrimental, if certain fundamentals are not in place. These fundamentals include factors such as strong institutions, reliable infrastructure, and laws that protect human rights and the environment.
The recently published FAO-CCSI Guide on incentives for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems provides policymakers and government technical staff with guidance on how investment incentives can be used (and how they should not be used) to enhance responsible investment in agriculture and food systems.
The upcoming Mekong Regional Land Forum 2021 brings together governments, the private sector and civil society from the region to discuss how an enabling environment can be created and improved in order to enhance responsible investment in Mekong forests.
The use of such incentives from the perspectives of different countries will also be discussed in the online event “Incentives for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems”, organized by FAO and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) on 30 June 2021 at 3:00pm (CEST). For more information on this event and registration, follow our Twitter account @FAOInvest or write an email to Responsible-Investment@fao.org.
Photo by Flickr user Benh Lieu Song.