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Feeding the world through sustainable agriculture

Smallholder farmers are the main producers of food globally and provide 60 to 80 per cent of the food produced in developing countries. As the world’s population grows, these farmers are under growing pressure to enhance their productivity and ensure food security, especially for the rural poor.

Yet numerous factors make farming increasingly difficult for them. These include climate variability and change, water scarcity and land degradation and high levels of post-harvest food losses.

Improving the soil, managing pests

Access to diverse agricultural technologies is key to ensuring smallholder farmers can continue to feed the world.

IFAD-supported projects help farmers to increase yields through enhanced soil and pest management, fertilizer use, access to better quality seeds, and other improved agricultural practices.

Our projects improve farmers’ access to input and output markets, as well as to rural financial services that will allow them to invest in their farms.

They also enhance the institutional capacities of farmer organizations to meet the needs of their members, while ensuring natural resources are managed properly and growth is sustainable.

Growing more food and developing new opportunities

Our approach to agriculture is context-specific. We strive to create opportunities for farmers at various levels with different assets, and for both women and men farmers.

We also support the growing number of rural youth, who frequently find themselves squeezed out of farming and are looking for alternative income sources.

In depth

Food loss reduction

Food loss has negative impacts on the livelihoods, nutrition and food security of millions of smallholder farmers. 

Spotlight

Looking inward: I-Kiribati fight a double health crisis

COVID-19 is not the only health crisis threatening to devastate the population of Kiribati. Cases of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have tripled between 2005 and 2010. 

Projects

Brazil

Rural Sustainable Development Project in the Semi-arid Region of Bahia
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Nepal

High-Value Agriculture Project in Hill and Mountain Areas
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Indonesia

South Sumatera Smallholder Tree Crops Development Project
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Related news

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Related publications

Research Series Issue 62: The spillover effects of seed producer groups on non-member farmers in mid-hill communities of Nepal

June 2020
Rice farmers in the mid-hills region of Nepal are vulnerable to drought, which can drastically reduce yields. Stress-tolerant rice varieties can mitigate this vulnerability, as can having a high seed replacement rate and using best management practices in rice cultivation.

Research Series Issue 40: Local-economy impacts of cash crop promotion

October 2019
This is the first study to quantify the general equilibrium impacts of introducing a new cash crop into a poor isolated economy, including impacts on environmentally sensitive fishing activities.

Harnessing smallholder potential for wheat production in Africa – reducing wheat import bills

August 2019
To reduce the amount of foreign currency spent on importing wheat, it is essential to use improved varieties and practices to increase Africa’s domestic production quickly.