Managing Agricultural Operations Overseas: Lessons From The Past
The prospect of trade liberalization at both the regional and global level opens up the possibility of increased agricultural investment in developing countries. Such opportunities can be very appealing to developed-country producers who face high domestic costs, particularly for land and labor. Further, foreign investment could be an extremely positive development in terms of using developed country technical knowledge to increase global food production. However putting this experience into practice overseas has not always been successful in the past. The history of expatriate investment in developing country agriculture does not offer many encouraging examples. Often overlooked in the literature of both agricultural economics and management, private investment in large-scale agricultural production, mostly undertaken by agribusinesses, has a poor record. Five case studies examined in this paper offer examples of what goes wrong which such investments. Based on the experience of these operations, it is the thesis of this paper that the main adaptation that these projects might have made is in the role of management.
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