Purpose

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states are rich in agricultural land and major exporters of agricultural and forestry products such as food, cash and medicinal crops. ASEAN is home to 15,000+ major ASEAN and global multinational enterprises (MNEs) and SMEs. Global inward foreign direct investment into agriculture, fishery and forestry value chains in ASEAN valued at US$2.6 billion in 2019, of which 65% were intra-ASEAN investments

 

As the demand for food increases due to a growing population (the region’s population will hit 800 million in the 2050s), rising incomes, and urbanization in the 10 countries that make up the ASEAN agriculture will continue to attract foreign and domestic investment. Increased investment in food, agriculture and forestry in the ASEAN region is needed to help achieve food and nutrition security, improve food safety, and create economic growth and opportunities.

 

Private sector investment can be directly managed (e.g. farms and plantation), indirect (e.g. contract farming) or a combination of the two. Examples of such investments include (but are not limited to): farms and plantations, seed or input production facilities, sugar refineries, flour mills, packaging plants, warehouses, lumber yards, or fish canneries.

The Guidelines distil the global best practices for ensuring that larger scale agribusiness investments are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable and inclusive. It provides future partners of such investments - from the public, private and civil society sectors - a roadmap of the important ingredients in such future investments. 

History

In September 2017, the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) agreed to develop the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (the “Guidelines”) at their 39th annual meeting. The Guidelines are grounded in the Committee on World Food Security, Principles for Responsible Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS RAI) and reflect the specificities and characteristics of ASEAN Member States (AMS). The ASEAN Guidelines were adopted by AMAF in October 2018.

The Guidelines are part of a broad range of initiatives aimed at ensuring that investments in agriculture meet global standards and promote responsible and sustainable investment. In addition, ASEAN has already begun a systematic process to adhere to global standards, for example with the adoption of the Vision & Strategic Plan for Food, Agriculture & Forestry (2016); the related four Strategic Plans of Action for FAF; the Regional Guidelines on Food Security & Nutrition Policy (2017), and the PPP Regional Framework for Technology Development in FAF (2017).

Risks and Opportunities

Investment in food, agriculture, and forestry is critical to provide employment, livelihoods and reduce poverty for rural and forest populations across ASEAN. An economically and environmentally robust and efficient agrobusiness value chain is also essential to ensure food and nutrition security for the region’s large and increasingly urban population.

  • Rural Investment Needed: Over 50% of the population lives in urban areas. The trend towards urbanization will continue as workers migrate to find work in the manufacturing and service sectors, leaving rural communities with a reduced workforce and fewer resources.

  • Opportunity: Agriculture accounts for 12% of regional GDP and employs 100 million people, or one-sixth of the total population. There is an opportunity for increasing investment in food, agriculture and forestry – not only to boost economic growth, but also to achieve social and environmental targets.

Mitigating Risks

Increased investment in agriculture, fisheries and forestry can create jobs, drive economic growth, and bring environmental and social benefits. Achieving positive impact through investments requires commitment to responsible practices from all stakeholders.

Yet, private sector investment can also be risky. When done irresponsibly, private sector investment runs the risk of worsening inequality, with especially damaging implications for smallholder farmers and indigenous peoples’ livelihoods. It could also lead to the exploitation and depletion of precious natural resources.

 

The ASEAN RAI Guidelines aim to mitigate these risks by providing regionally-specific guidance for responsible investment practices. 

Key Areas of Risk and Impact
during investments in food, agriculture and forestry in ASEAN:

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1. Food Security & Nutrition

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1. Food Security & Nutrition

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2. Tenure Rights

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2. Tenure Rights

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4. The Environment and Climate Change

4. The Environment and Climate Change

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4_Climate change and the environment.png
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5. Technical & Institutional Capacity

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5. Technical & Institutional Capacity

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3. Jobs & Livelihoods

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3. Jobs & Livelihoods

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6. Project Failure & Investor-State Contracts

6_Project failure and investor-state con
6_Project failure and investor-state con

6. Project Failure & Investor-State Contracts

Purpose

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states are rich in agricultural land and major exporters of agricultural and forestry products such as food, cash and medicinal crops. ASEAN is home to 15,000+ major ASEAN and global multinational enterprises (MNEs) and SMEs. Global inward foreign direct investment into agriculture, fishery and forestry value chains in ASEAN valued at US$2.6 billion in 2019, of which 65% were intra-ASEAN investments

 

As the demand for food increases due to a growing population (the region’s population will hit 800 million in the 2050s), rising incomes, and urbanization in the 10 countries that make up the ASEAN agriculture will continue to attract foreign and domestic investment. Increased investment in food, agriculture and forestry in the ASEAN region is needed to help achieve food and nutrition security, improve food safety, and create economic growth and opportunities.

 

Private sector investment can be directly managed (e.g. farms and plantation), indirect (e.g. contract farming) or a combination of the two. Examples of such investments include (but are not limited to): farms and plantations, seed or input production facilities, sugar refineries, flour mills, packaging plants, warehouses, lumber yards, or fish canneries.

The Guidelines distil the global best practices for ensuring that larger scale agribusiness investments are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable and inclusive. It provides future partners of such investments - from the public, private and civil society sectors - a roadmap of the important ingredients in such future investments. 

History

In September 2017, the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) agreed to develop the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (the “Guidelines”) at their 39th annual meeting. The Guidelines are grounded in the Committee on World Food Security, Principles for Responsible Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS RAI) and reflect the specificities and characteristics of ASEAN Member States (AMS). The ASEAN Guidelines were adopted by AMAF in October 2018.

The Guidelines are part of a broad range of initiatives aimed at ensuring that investments in agriculture meet global standards and promote responsible and sustainable investment. In addition, ASEAN has already begun a systematic process to adhere to global standards, for example with the adoption of the Vision & Strategic Plan for Food, Agriculture & Forestry (2016); the related four Strategic Plans of Action for FAF; the Regional Guidelines on Food Security & Nutrition Policy (2017), and the PPP Regional Framework for Technology Development in FAF (2017).