Enabling poor rural people
to overcome poverty

IFAD's investments in Asia and the Pacific comprise its largest regional portfolio. As of the end of 2014, IFAD was providing more than US$1.8 billion in financing for 56 ongoing programmes and projects in 20 of the region's 34 countries. IFAD also provides regional and country-specific grants across the region. With cofinancing by development partners and funds from governments and other domestic sources, these operations represent a total investment of more than US$4.2 billion.

Ongoing initiatives supported by IFAD in the region focus on:

  • Connecting rural producers to markets and creating jobs
  • Invigorating and transforming rural communities
  • Strengthening the capacities of women and young people
  • Expanding the use of climate-smart technologies and sustainable resource management practices
  • Developing and piloting innovative models of rural finance
  • Partnering with producer organizations, and private and public sectors to drive rural growth.

In Asia and the Pacific, grant-funded programmes support a number of activities. Around 40 per cent of resources are allocated to research on innovative technologies; 32 per cent involve advocacy, policy dialogue and knowledge sharing initiatives; about 18 per cent support training and capacity-building in rural communities; and 10 per cent are dedicated to innovations in value chain development. US$23.5 million of IFAD grants have mobilized more than US$15 million in co-financing from partner institutions.

Rural poverty in the region
Due to the impact of the most recent global slowdown, domestic fiscal policies and natural disasters, GDP growth in the developing nations of Asia moderated to 7.2 per cent in 2011 compared to 9.1 per cent in 2010. Nevertheless, the Asia and the Pacific region as a whole is well on course to meet the first Millennium Development, halving poverty by 2015, and its East Asia and South-East Asia sub-regions have already done so.

But the proportion of undernourished people remains high, particularly in rural areas of South Asia. There is also a risk that trends such as slower economic growth, environmental degradation and resulting higher food prices may set back prior gains in food and nutrition security.

Although rising food prices reduce real incomes of the poor and increase poverty, both rising prices and rising demand for food have created attractive investment opportunities in the agricultural sector. An important policy challenge is to ensure that higher food prices are transmitted to food producers – especially smallholders – and that impediments to market access are removed through larger public investment in rural infrastructure.

The Asia and the Pacific region also faces challenges posed by climate change, including the delayed onset of rain during the planting season and the inundation of low-lying coastal areas due to rising seas. Over 70 per cent of the region’s population depends on agriculture and other natural resource-based activities, and climate variability is undermining their livelihoods. As a result, IFAD-supported projects and Country Strategic Opportunities Programmes in Asia and the Pacific increasingly focus on enhancing the capacity of poor rural people to adapt to climate change.

Find more details on IFAD operations in Asia and the Pacific via the links to country pages below. You can also visit the Asia and the Pacific regional community, a collaborative online platform.

Countries in Asia and the Pacific