Our approach

Empowering people to lead their own development

For 40 years, IFAD has worked directly with the world’s poorest people living in some of the most remote regions of the world. We pay particular attention to the disenfranchised: women, youth and indigenous people. Our pioneering work in empowering people to lead their own development — and to realise their own dreams — is now the norm.

IFAD’s community-driven approach means we are trusted by millions of small family farmers the world over. They contribute to project design. They invest their time and even their own money in projects. And they have seen the results — higher production, better income, better nutrition and better lives.

IFAD’s vast global experience of funding cost-effective and people-centred programmes also makes us the partner of choice for governments, development agencies, the private sector and non-governmental organizations committed to ending poverty.

Farming is a business

We understand that rural people are business operators who know what they need to succeed: secure land tenure; access to markets, capital and knowledge; clean water, reliable roads and transportation, tools and technology, seeds and fertilizer; and good governance.

IFAD-supported projects connect poor rural people to markets and services so they can grow more and earn more. More than that, our projects transform rural communities economically and socially, and promote gender equality and inclusiveness.

Members of the IFAD-supported Musalia dairy group collect milk from farmers, control quality and weigh milk and then sell it in bulk to the Brookside Dairy company in Kitali, Rift valley, Kenya. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

Members of an IFAD-supported dairy group collect milk from farmers and sell it in bulk to a company in Kenya. With greater support and investment, smallholder farmers have an important role to play in feeding their communities and future populations. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

We act to ensure none are left behind, focusing on areas such as gender, youth and nutrition, investing to ensure sustainability, climate resilience and inclusive economic progress.

We help individuals and communities achieve their goals and transform rural communities, together.


IFAD’s comparative advantage lies in its targeting of the poorest, the poor and the vulnerable peoples and those who are most likely to have little access to assets and opportunities due to social exclusion and marginalization.

In line with the goal of Agenda 2030 and the Leave No One Behind framework, IFAD is committed to rural poverty reduction through well-focused and targeted efforts. Learn more.

Scaling it up to achieve results

Scaling-up the results of successful development is at the heart of what we do. To date, we have leveraged around US$26.1 billion and contributed an additional US$18.5 billion for agriculture and rural development. IFAD’s investments reduce poverty by an estimated 5.6 to 9.9 per cent (compared with 3 to 7 per cent for cash transfer programmes).

Co-financing from our partners, governments and programme participants leverages our investments.

Together we can end rural poverty by 2030.

Read more

Performance-based allocation system

The performance-based allocation system (PBAS) is rules-based using a formula that incorporates measures of country need and country performance. This allocates IFAD's loan and country grant resources to country programmes on the basis of country performance (the broad policy framework, rural development policy and portfolio performance), and need, (population and per capita gross national income-GNI). IFAD's approach includes special provision for rural sector performance.