UN agency to support Mexico project linking social assistance with rural development programmes

Rome, 11 August 2016 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations agency for rural development, and the Government of Mexico have signed an agreement to promote entrepreneurship among the country’s poor rural people receiving social benefits.

Thanks to this agreement, the Rural Productive Inclusion Project will be implemented in 26 municipalities in the states of Guerrero, Hidalgo and Zacatecas. It will benefit 12,800 families.

The total cost of the project is US$19.5 million, with IFAD financing covering $7.1 million. The rest will be funded by the Government of Mexico and by the beneficiaries themselves.

The project is designed to facilitate the access of beneficiaries of the country's largest conditional cash transfer programme (PROSPERA) to public programmes aimed at increasing rural productivity.

“Basic social assistance in the form of cash transfers allows people to live in a more dignified way. This project aims to go beyond that,” said Tomás Rosada, IFAD’s Regional Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“It will help transform the lives of poor rural people who are currently dependent on the State’s transfers and make them rural entrepreneurs, capable of making a living by themselves,” he added.

To address rural poverty in a more effective way, the current Mexican administration has made “productive inclusion” a key policy objective. One way of achieving this is through the creation of synergies between conditional cash transfers and productive development programmes, which is at the heart of the Rural Productive Inclusion Project.

The Project will allow local promoters to assist beneficiaries in identifying profitable productive activities, which could vary from organic farming to small rural businesses. These promoters will then facilitate beneficiaries’ access to technical assistance and productive investments, so that they can increase their production and improve the quality of their products, making them suitable for markets.

Despite efforts made in recent decades by the Government of Mexico, large segments of the country’s rural population still live in poverty. Family farms – subsistence farms, not linked to markets and extremely low in productivity– represent 51 per cent of farms in rural areas. Increasing their capacity to produce will both improve the lives of family farmers and boost rural economies as a whole.

“By supporting rural poor people who live on government benefits to set up agricultural and non-agricultural rural enterprises, the project will not only improve their lives but also, and more importantly, will do so in a sustainable way,” explained Rosada

Notes to editors:

Since 1980, IFAD has supported 10 projects in Mexico for a total investment of US$372.3 million, of which $185.2 was provided directly by IFAD. These projects have benefited over 143,000 households.

For more information on IFAD’s country programme in Mexico, click here. For a full description of the Rural Productive Inclusion Project, click here.

Photos of IFAD’s operations in Mexico are available on request. Tomás Rosada, IFAD’s Regional Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, is available for interviews. To arrange an interview or for more details and photos about IFAD operations in Mexico, contact:

Press release No.: IFAD/48/2016 
IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided over US$17.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 459 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.