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Ensuring environmental sustainability and building resilience to climate change

Smallholder farmers and poor rural people bear the brunt of climate change and the degradation of natural resources. Extreme weather events, such as droughts, storms and floods, are putting pressure on the ecosystems that farmers depend on, as are gradual processes such as rising sea levels and melting glaciers.

Crop failures and livestock deaths are causing economic losses and undermining the food security of rural people with ever-greater frequency, especially in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

At the same time, the rapidly growing global population demands higher levels of food production. To meet the world’s growing needs, agricultural production must double by 2050, food waste must be reduced and value chains have to become sustainable and efficient.

The ecosystems on which smallholder farmers rely are increasingly undermined. Access to suitable agricultural land is declining, and forest, soil and water resources are increasingly restricted and degraded. 

Many farmers produce on marginal, rainfed land, where water is increasingly scarce. Pollution and overexploitation are causing a serious decline in fish populations, threatening essential sources of income and nutrition.

Improving farming practices and safeguarding the environment

Poor farmers and fishers are guardians of natural resources. With targeted assistance, agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors can play a key role in tackling environmental degradation and climate change.

Improving land management and adjusting farming practices can help alleviate pressure on the environment and lower greenhouse gas emissions. 

Farming systems that embrace sustainable intensification practices can increase crop tolerance, diversify production and hinder environmental degradation.

Sustainable agricultural intensification

IFAD promotes agricultural growth that is environmentally sustainable and integrated into ecosystems. We help farmers and fishers become more resilient to the impact of climate change.

IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme is the largest global climate adaptation programme for smallholder farmers. We channel climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers, helping them to reduce poverty, enhance biodiversity, increase yields and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

IFAD is also an executing agency of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). These are among the main financial mechanisms for addressing the intertwined issues of poverty alleviation, sustainable ecosystem management and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Through these programmes, IFAD works with our partners to scale up successful approaches to sustainable agricultural production and green value chains. These approaches build climate resilience by managing competing land-use systems while reducing poverty, enhancing biodiversity, increasing yields and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

In depth

Renewable energy

More than 2.5 billion people rely on biomass, such as fuel wood, charcoal, agricultural waste and animal dung to meet their energy needs for cooking. In many countries, these resources account for over 90 per cent of household energy consumption.

Spotlight

Restoring Morocco’s mountain ecosystems with reforestation

In many areas of rural Morocco, climate change has led to widespread erosion and desertification, causing steep declines in soil quality. This makes farmland less productive, endangering the livelihoods of the area’s small-scale farmers.

Related news

IFAD and the Islamic Development Bank commit $500 million to address hunger and climate change in poor rural communities

April 2021 - NEWS
Joining forces to tackle rising hunger and the devastating impact of climate change in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, IFAD and IsDB today signed a US$500 million cooperation and cofinancing agreement.

Increased investment in Sahel will boost development and resilience of rural populations

February 2021 - NEWS
About one million rural people in the Sahel region will benefit from a new joint programme, the first of its kind, IFAD announced today. The US$180.4 million Regional Joint Programme will revitalize economic activities and food systems in the Group of Five Sahel countries and in the Republic of Senegal.

Help small-scale farmers adapt to climate change or face increased hunger and migration, warns IFAD President

January 2021 - NEWS
If investments to help rural small-scale farmers adapt to climate change do not substantially increase, we risk widespread hunger and global instability, warned Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, ahead of next week’s Climate Adaptation Summit.

Related publications

Resilient Food Systems (RFS) 2020 Annual Report

March 2021
 The 2020 Annual Report showcases the achievements and innovations of the RFS regional partners, country project teams and beneficiary communities across 12 targeted countries.

INSURED Uganda country update: Feasibility study on agricultural insurance for oilseed farmers

January 2021

What risks and challenges do small-scale producers of oilseeds in Uganda face, and could agricultural insurance help them manage and mitigate those risks?

The enhanced Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP+)

January 2021
This brochure provides an overview of ASAP+, which is expected to be the largest fund dedicated to channelling climate finance to small-scale producers.

Partners


Contact us

For questions please contact Brian J. Thomson,

Knowledge Management and Communication Manager,

+39 0654592282 and mobile: +39 366 6121101, b.thomson@ifad.org