Food and Agriculture
Hunger levels have been rising for the past five years. Almost 690 million people go to bed hungry every night. Food production and agriculture matter: they provide livelihoods for more people in the world than any other sector.
We provide high-quality advice to governments and parliamentarians to strengthen countries’ food security and livelihoods and to improve the quality of public and private investment in agriculture and food systems, while protecting land rights and responsibly managing natural resources.
We also seek to make food systems and value chains more resilient to climate change. Our experts support governments in implementing policies and regulations that enable food systems and communities to absorb climate shocks.
See our projects
Responsible Investment in Agriculture
IISD's work on responsible agricultural investment focuses on aligning investment practices with sustainability goals and promoting inclusive stakeholder dialogue in the agricultural sector.
Ceres2030: Sustainable Solutions to End Hunger
Our mission is to provide the donor community with a menu of policy options for directing their investments, backed by the best available evidence and economic models.
Working With Parliamentarians on Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems
Through their legislative, oversight, and representative functions, parliamentarians hold a strategic position: they can inform political and legislative agendas with the purpose of fostering change on the ground.
Toward More Equitable and Sustainable Trade in Food and Agriculture
IISD’s work on trade in food and farm goods seeks to improve the extent to which trade policy supports sustainable development outcomes and expand the space for informed discussion among a wider set of policy actors.
The ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry
The ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry were prepared for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat and were adopted in October 2018 by ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) during their annual meeting, held that year in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Advisory and Capacity Development Services on Legal and Policy Frameworks for Responsible Agriculture Investment
We advise and support governments in the drafting of model contracts in various sectors, including large-scale farmland investments, agricultural investment laws, legal frameworks for agricultural growth poles and zones, policies for attracting foreign direct investment in agriculture, contract farming templates and laws, and market opportunities for voluntary sustainability standards.
Best Practices Bulletins: Legal tools for responsible investment in agriculture
In this best practices series, IISD analyzes key legal and policy issues arising from the legal tools used by states to govern responsible investment in agriculture and food systems, with a particular focus on developing country and sustainable development perspectives.
Food and Agriculture: Emerging Policy Issues
Emerging issues policy briefs is a series produced by the IISD Agriculture, Trade & Investment Team. The series highlights and explains emerging issues that affect the resilience and sustainability of food and agriculture systems, particularly in developing countries.
Achieving Sustainable Food Systems in a Global Crisis
Expanding the original scope of the Ceres2030 project, this initiative focused on the interrelationships between food systems, climate change, and diets. The results provided options for country-level transition pathways toward sustainable food systems in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Nigeria.
Events and publications
A Strategic Vision for Enhancing Naturalized Water Retention in Manitoba
Enhancing water retention infrastructure in Manitoba can provide numerous benefits, especially if it is naturalized and is located, designed, and maintained strategically.
Producer Inclusion in Voluntary Sustainability Standard Governance
This report analyzes the extent to which producers are included in the governance of agricultural standards and recommends ways for standard-setting organizations to give producers opportunities to help steer their course.
Sustainability Standards and Commodity Prices: How to better support farmers' livelihoods
This webinar explored how standards can better support farmers to get higher prices and incomes and use more sustainable practices amid disruptions in international commodity prices.
Redesigning Agricultural Investment Contracts to Meet a New African Investment Regulatory Landscape
This Masterclass at the Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA) will help government policy-makers and agricultural investment negotiators understand key contract provisions and their overarching purpose, design, innovations, and limitations.
Interim Co-President and Co-CEO | Vice-President, Global Strategies and Managing Director, Europe
Lead, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
Lead II, Monitoring and Governance, Tracking Progress
Associate, Advisor Agriculture and Investment
Policy Analyst, Trade and Agriculture
Lead, Responsible Agricultural Investment Research
New legal tool can help governments get food systems back on track
New customizable legal provisions will help implement international best practices, principles, and guidance on responsible agricultural investment.
The IISD Model Contract Clauses for Responsible Investment in Agriculture
Customizable legal provisions to help implement international best practices, principles, and guidance on responsible agricultural investment.
Policy Coherence and Food Systems Transformation
To develop national pathways toward sustainable food systems, we need to align a diverse range of policy areas. How can countries overcome contradictions, inconsistencies, and trade-offs?
How much do we really know about “sustainable” cotton?
Exploring the complex value chains behind our t-shirts and towels and asking why we need to get better at tracing garments from the store back to the farm.
Can the cotton industry protect its workforce in a changing climate?
Cotton is ubiquitous in human lives, with approximately half of all textiles made of the material, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development. But the sector's sustainability issues stand to be exacerbated by increased risk to extreme heat, drought, floods and wildfires already being caused by climate change, Forum for the Future warned in a 2021 report. Besides cutting yields, it will also affect the well-being of those involved in the supply chain.
Integrating Sustainability Standards in South–South Trade Policies Can Improve Producers' Livelihoods in Developing Countries, New Report Shows
Trade between developing countries and regions—known as "South–South trade"—is growing rapidly. In the past couple of decades, its value has grown almost tenfold, from USD 600 billion in 1995 to USD 5.3 trillion in 2021. A new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development explores how governments in developing countries are using voluntary sustainability standards in their trade policies to ensure this growth benefits small-scale producers, communities, and the environment.
Sustainability Initiatives Falling Short for Sugar Cane Farmers in Developing Countries
Sugar cane is considered one of the most valuable agricultural commodities in the world and provides livelihoods for more than 100 million people in 120 countries. But many sugar cane farmers in developing countries live in poverty—and initiatives aimed at supporting them are falling short of their potential. A new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development explores recent market trends in the sugar cane sector, what these trends mean for producers in developing countries, and what voluntary sustainability standards, governments, and private sector actors can do to improve farmers' incomes.
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