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‘Billions needed’ for reform of global farming

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Global agriculture urgently needs billions of dollars in additional annual investment to boost output and reduce its harmful effect on the environment, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Monday.

Farms need to raise output to 70% by 2050, when the global population is expected to rise to 9 billion people from the current 6,7 billion, and also reduce their environmental footprint.

Agriculture, especially in developing countries, needs 30 billion, 100 billion a year from this year to 2050 to meet these challenges, the United Nations’ food agency said, citing various estimates.

But the resources available are estimated at 2,2 billion, 2,5 billion a year from this year to 2012, excluding private finance, which could add 15 billion a year if previous international agreements are fulfilled.

“Financing is . . . urgent,” FAO said in the report released ahead of a global conference on agriculture, food security and climate change in The Hague from Monday to Friday next week.

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

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, FAO said.

Financing mechanisms for fighting climate change, such as the Clean Development Fund or the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, often exclude agriculture, 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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