Skip to Content
X

Poverty reduction through nutritious foods

Worldwide, approximately three billion people have poor-quality diets and more than two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Nearly 25 per cent of children under the age of five are chronically undernourished.

Malnutrition causes health problems and losses in economic productivity, including GDP losses. Over the course of their lifetimes, malnourished individuals can earn 10 per cent less than those who are well-nourished.

Without access to adequate, affordable, nutritious food, generations remain trapped in poverty, unable to take advantage of educational and job opportunities to fulfil their potential.

Investing in nutrition through agriculture is not only socially responsible, it is sound development policy and good economics. Its impact is multi-generational, allowing children to reach their full physical and intellectual potential, so that they can grow into healthy adults and lift themselves out of poverty.

At the forefront of nutrition-sensitive agriculture

Improving food security through better food production systems is at the heart of IFAD’s work. We design our projects through a nutrition- and gender-sensitive lens, helping rural people to improve their diets by growing and consuming diverse, nutritious, safe and affordable foods.

To combat malnutrition, we combine our solid technical knowledge with investments in nutrition- and gender-sensitive agriculture, through unique food-based approaches. We finance nutritional education and support actions that reshape food systems and improve nutrition security.

We also pay special attention to the role of women and adolescent girls, who make up a large percentage of the workforce in agriculture and food systems in developing countries. They are also the safeguards of nutritious diets in their households.

Empowering women by improving their knowledge of nutrition, as well as promoting maternal nutrition and nutrition of adolescent girls, dietary intake, and hygiene behaviours, can reduce undernutrition for entire generations.

Gender-sensitive agricultural projects help ensure women have more control over resources and that both rural men and women understand the important role that they can play in supporting good nutrition.

Climate change exacerbates the already vast burden of malnutrition and undermines current efforts to reduce hunger and promote nutrition.

As a result, IFAD has increased its commitment to providing resources for issues related to nutrition and is mainstreaming nutrition, gender and climate change actions across all of its programmes and projects.

We promote dialogue among concerned partners, including ministries of agriculture and health, as well as between other areas of government and civil society. This strengthens understanding, brokers collaboration, and promotes new pathways for nutrition- and gender-sensitive agriculture.

IFAD also taps into other reservoirs of knowledge and collaborates with institutions with specialized research skills such as national agricultural research centres and international institutes.

Worldwide knowledge-sharing and collaboration

Governments and development partners around the world are increasingly focused on nutrition-enhancing agricultural investments.

More than 50 countries have now committed to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, a clear demonstration that nutrition is high on the global agenda.

IFAD plays an active role in the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), a platform dedicated to an open, substantive and constructive dialogue on global nutrition strategies and initiatives. The UNSCN is currently chaired by IFAD's Vice-President, Cornelia Richter.

Food and nutrition security is both an indicator and a driver of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. It is also an investment in the future.

For this reason, the scope of global malnutrition demands a robust and collaborative approach, driven by the local realities of smallholders and rural food systems.

Spotlight

Zero hunger, climate resilient: Transforming agriculture in Guinea-Bissau

Innovative and forward-looking, the IFAD-funded project in Guinea-Bissau will transform rural economic networks for a sustainable agriculture of the future.

Projects

Benin

The Market Gardening Development Support Project
Read More

Niger

Food Security and Development Support Project in the Maradi Region
Read More

Lao People's Democratic Republic

Southern Laos Food and Nutrition Security and Market Linkages Programme
Read More

New microenterprise project to make farming profitable for half a million Bangladeshi families

December 2019 - NEWS
IFAD and the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh have signed an agreement to launch a project to accelerate inclusive economic growth, sustainably reduce poverty and improve food and nutrition security.

New Report: Investments in indigenous people, youth and women essential to fight climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean

December 2019 - NEWS
Development projects that integrate investments in rural indigenous people, youth and women with measures to adapt to climate change are more likely to be successful in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new report launched today by IFAD.

As climate shocks intensify, UN food agencies urge more support for southern Africa's hungry people

October 2019 - NEWS
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are calling for urgent funding to avert a major hunger crisis and for the international community to step up investment in long-term measures to combat the impact of climate shocks and build the capacity of communities and countries to withstand them.

Research Series Issue 50: Rural transformation and the double burden of malnutrition among rural youth in developing countries

December 2019
In this study, we show that rural transformation processes are associated with improvements in rural youth nutrition – malnutrition and underweight – in nearly all regions, although the pace of change varies considerably across countries.

The Latin America and Caribbean Advantage: Family farming – a critical success factor for resilient food security and nutrition

December 2019
Development projects that integrate investments in rural indigenous people, youth and women with measures to adapt to climate change are more likely to be successful in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new report launched today by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The West and Central Africa Advantage

November 2019

A new report from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) shows that by working with women, men, young people and indigenous peoples as change agents we are best placed to beat back the impact of climate change on rural communities in West and Central Africa (WCA).

IFAD Action Plan Nutrition 2019-2025

August 2019 - CORPORATE
This Nutrition Action Plan (NAP) 2019 2025 sets out the framework to guide IFAD’s actions to accelerate mainstreaming of nutrition into its investments.

Videos

2NiR7f4ZtVg
Bangladesh: Small fish, big gains
fmfsE31-yCA
Laos: Nutritious Entertainment
wnKmHKb2iwk
Mozambique: Living Healthy
z4oZtVmWgOw
Bolivia: Crazy for Quinoa
cX6ws6AM_2k
India: Millet Madness