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Publication Overview

Financing Rural Infrastructure: Priorities and pathways for ending hunger: Investment in Agriculture Policy Brief #7

Key Messages

  • Most of the people suffering from hunger around the world live in rural areas and engage in agricultural activity. Financing infrastructure, including roads, storage and localized energy grids, will help provide food security for the 821 million people estimated to live in hunger worldwide.
  • About one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, amounting to about 1.3 billion tonnes per year. Storage facilities play a critical role in ensuring food security and ending hunger. Governments should create dedicated funds with a mandate to provide financing for storage infrastructure projects to reduce post-harvest loss.
  • Agricultural productivity resulting from irrigation can be more than twice as productive on a per-hectare basis than rainfed production. Investing in water distribution, such as through public–private partnerships, is crucial. Access to reliable water sources positively contributes to women’s empowerment through increased asset ownership and control over resources, better sanitation, local job creation and food security.  

Significant and interrelated investments in rural development are needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” 

This policy brief, available in English and French, focuses on just one of these needed investments: finance for rural infrastructure.

We cover four infrastructure categories that demonstrate the most robust and empirically verified relationships to ending hunger and promoting food security, while also persistently failing to attract adequate investment: storage, decentralized renewable energy, feeder roads and irrigation.

Decentralized, sustainable solutions to infrastructure needs exist and can make an invaluable contribution to sustainable growth in rural economies and the food security of vulnerable populations worldwide.