Enabling poor rural people
to overcome poverty



IFAD invests in rural communities hit by erratic weather and sea level rise in the Mekong Delta

Rome, 28 March 2014 – A project supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will improve rural livelihoods and strengthen people’s capacity to adapt to climate change, benefitting 125,000 vulnerable people, in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta region.

IFAD is providing US$34 million to finance the Project for Adaption to Climate Change in the Mekong Delta in Ben Tre and Tra Vinh Provinces. The project includes a US$12 million grant from the Adaption for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). The financing agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters by Nguyen Hoang Long, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in Italy, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

Although Viet Nam became a middle-income country in 2010, growing inequality between rural and urban areas and among ethnic groups threatens overall economic growth and prosperity. The negative impacts of climate change − including rising sea levels, increasing inland salinity, temperature spikes and erratic rainfall − impose further challenges by undermining food production and disproportionately affecting poor rural people.
The project will target poor communities, specifically female-headed and ethnic minority households in the Ben Tre and Tra Vinh provinces in the north-east Mekong Delta. The project will work to develop climate-resilient agricultural systems, salinity-tolerant fish varieties and off-farm livelihood opportunities. It will also promote climate-sensitive planning to rationalise budgetary allocations, and provide financing for climate-robust, small-scale infrastructure to be built at community level.

“Following the global recession in 2008, Viet Nam has embarked on a number of macroeconomic adjustments which have facilitated the continued growth of the economy including the agricultural sector,” said Nwanze at the signing ceremony.

“Viet Nam’s policies for rural development, poverty reduction and latest adaption to climate change are inspiring examples globally for other developing countries.”

Since 1979, IFAD has invested a total of US$280.59 million in 12 programmes and projects in Viet Nam, with a total cost of US$398.20 million including cofinancing, reaching over 507,900 households.


Notes to Editors:

  • Viet Nam entered middle income status in 2010. Average per capita GDP in Viet Nam has steadily progressed from less than US$200 in 1989 to above US$1,000 by 2009, with the strongest income growth associated with large cities and export-oriented economic activities.
    • Agricultural growth has assured food security and made a key contribution to economic and social development and stability. About 15.35 million households or 60.96 million people (69.4 per cent of the population) are in rural areas.
    • Poverty remains predominantly a rural phenomenon: rural people comprise 91 per cent of those living in poverty.
    • The high poverty rate among ethnic minorities, which stood at 45 per cent in 2010, is of particular concern. Ethnic people represent only 15 per cent of the total population, but form 39 per cent of all poor people. Poverty rates vary significantly between ethnic groups.
    • The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) was launched by IFAD in 2012 to channel climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers so that they can increase their resilience. The objective of ASAP is to improve the climate resilience of large-scale rural development programmes and improve the capacity of at least 8 million smallholder farmers to expand their options in a rapidly changing environment.

Press release No.: IFAD/20/2014

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested about US$15.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects reaching approximately 420 million people and helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nations’ food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 173 members from developing countries, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).