Release number IFAD/25/08
IFAD President urges action now to ensure high yields from next harvest
Rome, 25 April 2008-IFAD is making up to US$200 million available to support poor farmers preparing for the forthcoming cropping season.
Lennart Båge, President of IFAD, speaking after the meeting of IFAD’s Executive Board, outlined how US$200 million of IFAD funds could be used to help boost agricultural production for the next cropping season and so respond to the immediate needs of poor rural farmers and the rest of the world:
“Hundreds of millions of poor people face hunger and malnutrition because of rising food prices. The capacity of the world’s 450 million smallholder farmers to respond by growing more food is at risk because of spiralling energy and fertiliser prices,” Båge said. “Poor farmers are not reaping the benefits of higher food prices because they cannot afford the fertiliser or seeds to plant next season’s crops.
“Poor rural farmers are central to any solution to today’s global food crisis and the long term problems of hunger and poverty.”
Båge spoke of the need for a concerted, comprehensive and coordinated effort by the international community, without which millions of poor people would face the prospect of slipping back into abject poverty:
“A three-pronged approach is needed: first, emergency food aid to feed the hungry today; secondly, immediate support in the short-term to allow smallholder farmers to plant next season’s crops; and thirdly, longer term investment in agriculture to guarantee food security, nutrition and rural development and to eliminate the root causes of hunger.
“The world has under-invested in agriculture and rural development for far too long. It is high time to put this right,” Båge said.
IFAD operates in the majority of the 37 countries identified by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as most badly affected by today’s high food prices. IFAD is working with the FAO, the World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners, as well as with the government of these countries, to ensure an effective and efficient response to the global food crisis.
Notes for Editors
IFAD was created 30 years ago to tackle rural poverty, a key consequence of the droughts and famines of the early 1970s. Since 1978, IFAD has invested more than US$10 billion in low-interest loans and grants that have helped over 300 million very poor rural women and men increase their incomes and provide for their families.
IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency. It is a global partnership of OECD, OPEC and other developing countries. Today, IFAD supports more than 200 programmes and projects in 84 developing countries.