Financing for agriculture and agrarian development
BRICS is an acronym to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, five emerging countries with expressive economic growth and regional leadership in the international arena. In 2009, the BRICS convened its first Summit with the objective of coordinating their position in international meetings and establishing a new cooperation agenda among them.
The BRICS Financial Forum (BFF) was created after the Second BRICS Summit in 2010 with the objective of gathering the Presidents of national development banks in order to discuss financial cooperation for development. It consists of joining financial resources and minimizing operational risks in support to the development of partner countries. In initiatives such as BRICS, financial cooperation helps to strengthen ties among members and provides an alternative way of gathering investments for development projects (OCAMPO, 2006, pp. 2-8).
The BFF deliberates on new parameters for financial cooperation and presents agreed policies and areas for investments. Since 2015, with the creation of the New Development Bank (NDB) – responsible for mobilizing resources to invest in infrastructure and sustainable development projects – the BFF has received the task of establishing guidelines that will assist decisions regarding financing for development.
Agriculture and agrarian development are recurring topics on the BRICS development agenda. Matters concerning food security and the primary sector have been mentioned since its First Summit and are present in almost every declaration. In the BRICS Action Plan 2012-2016 for Agricultural Cooperation, five basic objectives were established to this sector: to increase agriculture information exchange; to give to vulnerable population access to food; to address climate change; to foster agriculture technology cooperation and innovation; and to promote trade and investment (“ACTION…”, 2011).
In 2016, the BFF will address the ways of financing these objectives, which is a major problem for developing countries. The role of national and regional development banks in financing BRICS agriculture must be assessed, not to mention the definition of the involvement of the NDB in this sector. The forum must also address the primordial concern of food security and how to ensure the growth of domestic productivity without excluding labor force (BRICS MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE AND AGRARIAN DEVELOPMENT, 2015; STUENKEL, 2015, pp. 72-87).
The representatives of the BFF will have to decide parameters for financing agriculture and agrarian development projects in BRICS countries. Even though all five members are committed to the cause, differences may appear when delicate subjects rise, such as energy resources and climate change. Therefore, representatives must work towards consensus to come up with a Joint Declaration on the topic.
“ACTION Plan 2012-2016 for Agricultural Cooperation of BRICS countries”. In: Official Website of the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations. Chengdu, 20 October 2011. Available at: <http://brics.itamaraty.gov.br/category-english/21-documents/188-action-plan-2012-2016-for-agricultural-cooperation-of-brics-countries>. Accessed: 21 January 2016.
BRICS MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE AND AGRARIAN DEVELOPMENT. “Joint Declaration of the 5th Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development”. In: Official Website of the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations. Moscow, 9 October 2015. Available at: <http://brics.itamaraty.gov.br/category-english/21-documents/256-joint-declaration-of-the-5th-meeting-of-the-brics-ministers-of-agriculture-and-agrarian-development>. Accessed: 21 January 2016.
OCAMPO, J. A. “Regional Financial Cooperation: Experiences and Challenges”. In: Regional Financial Cooperation. Washington: Brooking Institution Press, 2006, pp. 2-39. Available at: <http://www.brookings.edu/press/books/chapter_1/regionalfinancialcooperation.pdf>. Accessed: 21 January 2016.
STUENKEL, O. “The Hidden World of Intra-BRICS Cooperation: Does Regime Type Matter?”. In: The BRICS and the Future of Global Order. London: Lexington Books, 2015, pp. 59-95.
Image 1: STUCKERT FILHO, R. “Reunião da Cúpula do G20 em Brisbane, Austrália”. In: Agência Brasil, 15 November 2014. Available at: <http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/economia/foto/2014-11/reuniao-de-cupula-do-g20-em-brisbane-australia >. Accessed: 21 January 2016.
Image 2: “AGRICULTURE and food security: a long-term priority”. In: Chinafolio, January 2014. Available at: <http://www.chinafolio.com/agriculture-and-food-security>. Accessed: 21 January 2016.