Neil Palmer/CIAT

The global investment gap in innovation for SAI

Building on the Investment Baseline Study, WLE’s Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (CoSAI), together with the COP26  Transforming Agricultural Innovation for People, Nature and Climate campaign, commissioned a study on estimating the 'global investment gap' in research and innovation for sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI). This forward-looking study, carried out by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and jointly funded by  CoSAI  and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office  (FCDO), modelled the overall global need for public and private investment in agricultural research and innovation relevant to the Global South.

The evidence from the Investment Gap Study found that the funding gap sits at USD 15.2 billion annually.  Zooming in on this investment, the study found that annually, USD 4bn is required for funding research and development, USD 6.5 billion is required for climate-smart technologies at scale that will reduce and sequester emissions, and USD 4.7 billion is required for improving water management.

The report finds that with an annual USD 4 billion invested into research and development we would advance SDG2 in East Asia, South Asia, and Latin American and the Caribbean and halve the risk of hunger in sub-Saharan Africa from 24% to 12%. Further investing USD 6.5 billion in climate-smart technologies at scale will reduce and sequester emissions, helping agriculture advance its' commitments within the Paris Agreement – keeping global warming within 2°C. However, achieving zero land-use change from agriculture is also integral for agriculture's contribution to limiting warming, and although land-use change is slowed under this investment modelling, it is not completely halted. The final USD 4.7 billion investment each year, funneled into improving water management, could lower agricultural water use by 10% in less than a decade.

The findings of the report highlight the striking return on filling this USD 15.2 billion annual investment funding gap. It is integral that investors step up and contribute to a more sustainable future through SAI aligned investments.

For more information, read the final report and policy brief or visit the CoSAI evidence page.