IFAD president calls on member states to increase rural sector investment

IFAD FEAG 12Gilbert F Houngbo, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has called on its 177 member states to help the fund reach its goal of doubling impact on the lives of the world’s most marginalised people by 2030, with a proposed US$30bn programme of work over the next 10 years

“With extreme weather, conflict, fragility and migration threatening our food systems, we need to invest more in the rural people who grow our food,” said Houngbo. “We have just 10 years to reach our global targets of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. That means stepping up our investments where poverty and hunger are concentrated – in rural areas.”

The call for increased investments will be made at the launch of IFAD’s 12th replenishment – a year-long consultative process during which IFAD’s Member States come together to agree on strategic directions and mobilise funds for IFAD to provide as concessional loans and grants to developing countries.

With increased support from member states, IFAD aims to raise the production of more than 200 million small-scale producers, improve the resilience of more than 100 million rural people, and increase the incomes of about 260 million rural women and men by at least 20 per cent by 2030.

The evidence is increasingly clear that the road to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) runs through rural areas, where 80 per cent of the world’s poorest people live. Investing in agriculture and rural development is the most direct means of increasing their incomes and food security. Studies show that economic growth in agriculture is two to three times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in any other sector.

“With more than 40 years’ experience on the ground, we know the last mile can be the hardest,” said Houngbo. “We can still deliver on the SDGs and eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – but not if we continue on our current trajectory. We need more funding, new partnerships and financial instruments, and more inclusive approaches.”

As the only multilateral institution exclusively focused on rural areas, IFAD works in remote places where few other development projects reach. Over the next decade, IFAD will use its unique focus and expertise in designing and rolling-out rural investment projects targeting the world’s most vulnerable groups, including rural women, youth and indigenous peoples.

More resources to be channelled to the poorest people

To step-up its impact and capacity to assist the countries most in need, IFAD is developing a new financial model. The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), IFAD’s flagship programme for channelling climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers, will expand to provide more funding to lower-income countries, especially those with high levels of malnutrition, and to fragile situations where climate adaptation investment is lacking. It will focus more on the interlinkages between climate change and its impact on women, young people and nutrition.

In addition, the Private Sector Financing Programme will aim to bring private sector investment and know-how to bear on the development of rural small and medium-sized enterprises and farmers’ organisations.

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