India and China, the world's two largest consumers of farm items, must invest $29 billion a year in agricultural sector in order to meet their food demand in 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.
"As much as $29 billion would need to be spent in the two countries with the largest population – India and China," FAO said in its discussion paper prepared for an high-level meeting on 'How to Feed the World in 2050' to be held in Rome on October 12-13.
The investment is required in primary agriculture and necessary downstream services such as cold chains, storage units, processing and market facilities, it said. Pointing that most of the investment will have to come from private sources, FAO said private investment needs to be encouraged at all stages in the value chain.
Besides, the countries need to create a favourable investment climate and address issues such as lending policies to agriculture, risks and limitations on the ability of microfinance systems to bring about a step-change in production and productivity, it added.
The UN body also noted that "the foreign direct investment in agriculture in developing countries could make a significant contribution to bridging the investment gap". The FAO paper also highlighted that the total farm investment in developing countries needs to be increased by about 50 per cent to $83 billion.