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:

1. Food Security & Nutrition

2. Tenure Rights

4. The Environment and Climate Change

5. Technical & Institutional Capacity

3. Jobs & Livelihoods

6. Project Failure & Investor-State Contracts

© 2020 Grow Asia | The ASEAN Guidelines for Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry