Miscellaneous Knowledge Notes

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Water Access and Management

2018-03, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note provides guidance on how to ensure that the impact of agricultural investments on water resources is effectively measured, monitored, and regulated. Water is essential to agricultural production and processing, and has been a driving factor in private and public decisions on where to locate investments. Despite global concerns about water scarcity and pollution, the water use of agricultural investments is in many cases not rigorously measured, monitored, or regulated. Where regulations exist, enforcement is often weak. Some investors improve local water access with community development programs, but such schemes require consultation and careful management.

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Tools for Screening Prospective Investors

2018-03, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note supplements note 6: screening prospective investors. The investment screening process requires suitable tools for assisting government agencies in their work. This note provides examples of tools that government agencies can adapt to their national context and use to develop the technical capacity to screen and select investors.

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Outgrower Schemes

2018-03, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note provides guidance on the design and implementation of outgrower schemes to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for investors and smallholders. Outgrower schemes have gained prominence as a business model that can benefit both smallholders and investors. Such schemes can improve smallholders’ access to markets, finance, infrastructure, and improved growing techniques; can enhance investors’ access to land, labor, and quality produce; and can improve investor-community relations. Associated risks include overdependency, exploitation of power differences, entrenchment of inequalities, lower-than-expected production, and side-selling. Achieving the potential benefits and minimizing the associated risks requires careful design and implementation.

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Healthy and Safe Working Environment

2018-03, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note provides guidance to investors and governments on good practice in occupational health and safety policies, programs, procedures and processes, a matter of critical importance given thathalf the world’s working population is in agriculture—one of the three most hazardous sectors, with an estimated 170,000 fatalities per year (ILO). To be successful, an agribusiness operationmust rely heavily not only on the skills and competencies of its employees but on their health and wellbeing, requiring an awareness of and adherence to acceptable occupational health and safety standards.

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Creating an Enabling Environment

2018-03, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note provides guidance on how to create an investment climate that is conducive to attracting high-quality, responsible investment in agriculture. The investment climate needs to enable investors to survive, to thrive, and to contribute to the local community and the broader economy in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Investors in the agriculture sector noted a variety of factors that inhibit their ability to run successful operations. Failed or struggling investments have consequences that extend well beyond the financial losses that investors incur. An effective enabling environment contributes to the chances of investor success, which is in the interests of all stakeholders.

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Environmental and Social Impact Assessments

2018-03, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note provides guidance on the conduct of environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) and the implementation of associated environmental and social management plans (ESMPs). Crop and livestock production, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture all depend on the use of land, water, and other natural resources that are inextricably linked to rural livelihoods, social systems, values, and culture. ESIAs and ESMPs are key tools for identifying and assessing social and environmental risks and benefits at the planning stage of an investment, and for building risk mitigation measures into project design and implementation. Although usually legislative requirements, too often they have been treated as box-ticking exercises. There remainssignificant room for improvement in the conduct of assessment and the rigor with which findings are incorporated into management plans.

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Community Development Agreements

2018-03-01, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note provides guidance on negotiating, designing, and implementing community development agreements between investors and local communities. Some investors, in particular those thatoperate in remote rural areas, have made significant contributions to local development through social development programs. Their effectiveness and the manner in which they are implemented depend on the context and the capacity of the investor. The most successful programs include localcommunities in making decisions about scope, require investors to make binding commitments, and support rather than supplant governmental responsibilities.

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Technology Transfer

2018-03, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note provides guidance to governments and investors on how best to support the development and transfer of technologies to local smallholders and communities. New technology can help boost production and productivity in the agriculture sector and, given the growing global demand forfood and fiber and the limits of natural resources, has the potential to substantially raise incomes for smallholders and rural communities. Improving mechanisms to increase the transmission and adoption of technologies is important for building technological capability in developingcountries. The importation and adoption of productivity-enhancing technologies in part depends on investors’ support and training efforts but ultimately will fail if local smallholders acting as partners in the value chain do not achieve gains that warrant the embrace and use of technology.

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Screening Prospective Investors

2018-03, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note provides guidance to governments on how to screen and select prospective investment projects to ensure they maximize the social, economic, and environmental benefits while minimizing the risks. It provides investors information on what can be expected in cases of good screening practice. The acceptance of investors that later fail financially or have poor social and environmental outcomes has had damaging impacts on many countries as well as communities. Screening investors is a critical component of a country’s policy framework to mitigate those risks and to improve the likelihood that investments will have a positive effect on sustainable development priorities. This note summarizes available resources on how to screen agricultural investments and calls on donors, international organizations, and civil society to develop more. It is complemented by note 7: tools for screening investors, which provides a detailed toolkit that can be adapted to host countries’ individual circumstances.

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Training and Integrating Local People into the Workforce

2018-03, UNCTAD, World Bank

This note provides guidance on how to assist people from surrounding areas in gaining formal employment at the investment. Formal employment is a major expected benefit of agricultural investments. Yet investors experience difficulties in employing people from surrounding areasdue to gaps in skills and education. The inclusion of local people in the formal workforce is a key element of partnerships between local communities and investors. This inclusion can be facilitated by dedicated training programs and strategies to improve integration.