October 28, 2010 / 2:40 PM / 9 years ago

Farms lack $blns for food supply, environment: FAO

MILAN (Reuters) - World agriculture urgently needs billions of dollars in additional annual investment to boost output and reduce its negative impact on the environment, the United Nations’ food agency said on Thursday.

Farms need to increase output by 70 percent by 2050, when global population is expected to rise to 9 billion from the current 6.7 billion, and at the same time reduce their environmental footprint.

Agriculture, especially in developing countries, needs $30-100 billion a year from 2010 to 2050 to meet these challenges, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said, citing various estimates.

But the resources available are estimated at $2.2-2.5 billion a year from 2010 to 2012, excluding private finance which could add $15 billion a year if previous international agreements are fulfilled, the FAO said. (www.fao.org)

“Financing is ... urgent,” the FAO said in the report released ahead of a global conference on agriculture, food security and climate change in the Hague from October 31 to November 5.

“Available financing, current and projected, are substantially insufficient to meet climate change and food security challenges faced by the agriculture sector,” it said.

Private and public funds including those earmarked for food security and climate change should be combined to help agriculture make a much-needed transformation into a “climate-smart” sector, the Rome-based agency said.

Existing financing mechanisms instrumental for fighting climate change — such as the Clean Development Fund or the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme — often exclude agriculture, the FAO said.

“Broader approaches that look beyond current silos to forms of financing that could support high productivity/resilience and low emission agricultural development and ... food security responsible climate change responses will be needed,” it said.

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