Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on International Investment in Agriculture

Our global food system is in crisis. Nearly one billion people are food insecure, and anticipated increases in food demand (arising from a growing world population and changing diets) confront potential decreases in food supply (due to climatic changes and water scarcity). Although the general consensus is that investment in agriculture is woefully underfunded, questions around the type and form of investment needed are fiercely contested. As a result, the role that international investment should play—and how it should be structured, regulated, and monitored—remains a polarizing question.

Difficult issues require strong dialogue. Important opportunities exist for cross-disciplinary discussions among researchers and professionals working on issues related to agricultural investment, which can help to contextualize efforts and sharpen evidence-based policy proposals. To encourage cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration, CCSI has co-hosted a series of working group discussions at the Earth Institute on investment in agriculture as viewed through different lenses, including productivity, sustainability, risks, and rights. Though this was not the first effort to grapple with these urgent and interconnected issues, this dialogue was grounded in the belief that more sustained interdisciplinary discussion is both beneficial and necessary as debates continue to rage over how best to feed the world, now and in the future. CCSI is now working to bring this cross-disciplinary approach to other groups and activities.