Asia and the Pacific nations, including Bangladesh, need to pump as much as US$42 billion into the agriculture sector by 2030 to eliminate hunger from the region, an authoritative study has reckoned.
And the investments will yield $1.1 trillion in economic output for the region, home to three-fifths of the world’s population, estimated the study jointly conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFRI).
“[Some] 517 million people are food insecure in Asia-Pacific,” warned Woochong Um, director general of the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department at the ADB. But “farmers are aging as young people are not interested in farming.”
His warning came as he unveiled a study that estimated investment requirements for ending hunger in Asia and the Pacific by 2030. The launch of the report coincided with the three-day Rural Development and Food Security Forum that opened here on Monday.
Of the total investments, Mr Um said rural infrastructure and agri-logistics sub-sectors alone would eat up almost half the money, with irrigation and farm research and development making up the remaining slice.
Even the fast-growing South Asia, which houses one-fifth of the global population, must sink almost one-third of $42 billion investments to achieve the zero-hunger goal, according to Mark Rosegrant, an emeritus research fellow at the IFPRI.
If sub-sectors are considered, research and development in agriculture has “the highest rate of economic returns and hunger reduction,” followed by rural infrastructure and irrigation, Mr Rosegrant argued.
To buttress his point, the IFPRI researcher said R&D investments foster agricultural productivity growth, which in turn boosts gross domestic product and household income.
Such a capital infusion helps drive down food prices to consumers while raising food consumption, he added.