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Who will feed the World? The production challenge

Who will feed the World? The production challenge

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Published by Oxfam
This report focuses on the production challenge contained with the ambitious question of “who will feed the World?” It acknowledges that this is just one part of the solution to feeding the world, along with waste management; (inter)national trade regimes; (inter)national rules, regulations and laws; the policies and practices of companies; etc.
The results of the report shows that policy matters more than geography and history when it comes to agricultural production and that unless strong regulation is in place to secure property rights, discipline land acquisition, and ensure transparent and participatory negotiations, adverse social and environmental effects will outweigh the benefits of large-scale agriculture. The need for investment in technology, infrastructure, market access, and institutions suggests that private investment could contribute in many ways which do not involve large-scale land acquisitions. On the contrary, a variety of institutional arrangements could be used to combine the assets of investors with those of local communities and small-holder farmers.
A four-pronged approach is argued for in this report: a mix of large- and small-scale, and LEI and HEI production methods. There are pros and cons in each approach, and the conditions for success or failure are very context-specific and contingent on a country’s institutions, tenure, policy, culture, and demographic considerations. The main conclusion is that whatever mix of the four-pronged approach is adopted, major commitment and investment by governments, development agencies, and private-sector actors, to reverse the trend of the last 20 years, will be essential to achieving sustained agricultural growth and to making a major dent in the levels of poverty and hunger.
This report focuses on the production challenge contained with the ambitious question of “who will feed the World?” It acknowledges that this is just one part of the solution to feeding the world, along with waste management; (inter)national trade regimes; (inter)national rules, regulations and laws; the policies and practices of companies; etc.
The results of the report shows that policy matters more than geography and history when it comes to agricultural production and that unless strong regulation is in place to secure property rights, discipline land acquisition, and ensure transparent and participatory negotiations, adverse social and environmental effects will outweigh the benefits of large-scale agriculture. The need for investment in technology, infrastructure, market access, and institutions suggests that private investment could contribute in many ways which do not involve large-scale land acquisitions. On the contrary, a variety of institutional arrangements could be used to combine the assets of investors with those of local communities and small-holder farmers.
A four-pronged approach is argued for in this report: a mix of large- and small-scale, and LEI and HEI production methods. There are pros and cons in each approach, and the conditions for success or failure are very context-specific and contingent on a country’s institutions, tenure, policy, culture, and demographic considerations. The main conclusion is that whatever mix of the four-pronged approach is adopted, major commitment and investment by governments, development agencies, and private-sector actors, to reverse the trend of the last 20 years, will be essential to achieving sustained agricultural growth and to making a major dent in the levels of poverty and hunger.

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Published by: Oxfam on Apr 26, 2011
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02/08/2013

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www.oxam.org
Oxam Research Reports
Who WillFeed the World?
 The production challenge
Lucia Wegner
 
Senior development economist and independent consultant 
Gine Zwart
 
Oxfam Novib
April 2011
 
Who Will Feed the World?
 
Oxfam Research Report, April 20112
Contents
Executive Summary ..............................................................................................................................................................3
1.
Introduction: Is the global agricultural system ready to eed the world in 2030? ......................6
2.
What is the best model to drive sustainableagricultural growth and improve ood security? ........................................................................................12
2.1
Where the debate stands .......................................................................................................................14
2.2
Models o arming systems ...................................................................................................................15
2.3
Small-scale Farming: pros and cons .................................................................................................20Advantages/opportunities o small armers compared with large armersRisks/challenges o small armers compared with large armers
2.4
Large-scale arming: pros and cons .................................................................................................25Advantages/opportunities o large armers compared with small armersRisks/challenges o large armers compared with small armersEvidence so ar
2.5
Low External Input (LEI) agriculture andHigh External Input (HEI) agriculture: pros and cons ..............................................................32
3.
A our-pronged approach to eed the world in 2030 ..............................................................................39
3.1
Support subsistence (amily) armers .............................................................................................39
3.2
Empower small investor armers to exploit their ull potential ........................................41
3.3
Make large-scale arming pro-poor .................................................................................................46
3.4
Build on complementarities between small and large arming systems ...................49
4.
Conclusion .......................................................................................................................................................................53Sources and reerences ...................................................................................................................................................58Notes..........................................................................................................................................................................................61Acknowledgements ..........................................................................................................................................................66
 
Who Will Feed the World?
 
Oxfam Research Report, April 20113
Executive Summary
Against a background o increasing ood insecurity, agriculture in developing countriesmust undergo a signicant transormation in order to increase production and respond toclimate change. It is estimated that eeding 8.2 billion people – an additional 1.4 billion – in2030 would require raising overall ood production by some 50 per cent between 2005/07and 2030. Feeding a larger urban population in a context o increasing scarcity o land andwater, while also adopting more sustainable production methods, is a daunting challenge.In Arica, where it is predicted that population levels will double during the same period, thechallenge will be even more acute. The uncertainty concerning the uture o ood supply has propelled a growing numbero investors and nance companies to acquire large parcels o productive land in manydeveloping countries, particularly in Arica, or the purposes o commercial production, long-term investment, or speculation. Investors expressed interest in 42 million ha o land globallyin 2009 – o which 75 per cent were in sub-Saharan Arica. A conservative estimate is that atleast 6 million ha o additional land will be brought into production each year up to 2030.It should be noted that hunger and malnutrition are due not so much to the unavailabilityo ood as to the inability o the poorest members o society to access it at an aordableprice. Feeding the world by 2030 requires on the one hand eorts to increase oodproduction and thereore ood availability, and on the other measures to ensure that thepoorest and most marginalised sectors o society have the purchasing power to accesswhat ood there is available.Seventy-ve per cent o the world’s poor and undernourished people are located in ruralareas and depend on agriculture directly or indirectly or their livelihoods. Five hundredmillion smallholder arms worldwide are supporting around two billion people, or onethird o humanity. There is an extensive literature and persuasive evidence to suggestthat measures to improve smallholder armers’ capacity to increase ood production andproductivity, as well as to link to markets, will not only enhance their purchasing power butalso increase wider ood availability and so contribute to global ood security.Nevertheless, this vision does not go unchallenged. The surging investors’ interest in Aricahas triggered a debate over the relative advantages and disadvantages in Arica, andworldwide, o large-scale versus small-scale arming models. The debate has been urtherstimulated by the leading development economist Paul Collier, who argued that much o the ocus on smallholders might actually be hindering large-scale poverty reduction, andthat current policies ignore one essential actor or labour-productivity growth: successulmigration out o agriculture and rural areas. According to Collier, the international oodsystem and agricultural production technology have changed in avour o larger-scaleventures. The benet o size is that it acilitates commercialisation.

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