World Investment Report 2009

Transnational Corporations, Agricultural Production and Development

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The World Investment Report 2009, subtitled Transnational Corporations, Agricultural Production and Development analyses two major issues: How have foreign direct investment (FDI) flows reacted to the current financial and economic crisis? How do traditional and new foreign investors - transnational corporations (TNCs) - affect agriculture, the basis of livelihood in many developing countries? According to the report, after decades of slow growth, TNCs’ interest and participation in agriculture - including FDI - is again on the rise. Despite this increase, in most countries today only a small share of FDI goes to agriculture. Renewed interest by foreign investors in agricultural investment is significant enough to raise questions about whether FDI and other forms of TNC participation in agriculture can contribute to the development of this long neglected industry. WIR 2009 suggests an integrated policy approach that takes into account concerns arising from TNC involvement.




Building on advanced technologies and management processes, and diversifying into new agribusiness chains, pioneering countries such as Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Kenya and Viet Nam are utilizing agriculture as a lynchpin for economic development and modernization. Moreover, in most of them, TNCs have acted as agents of agricultural change in varying degrees. The extent to which these and other developing countries can build on the promise of agriculture depends on how they meet a number of interconnected development challenges. This Report has focused primarily on one of these, namely the investment challenge, but others are equally important. Four of the most significant are outlined below, as well as the roles that TNCs might play in helping to meet them:


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