“Agriculture is about feeding people and reducing hunger”

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“Agriculture is about feeding people and reducing hunger”

IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze welcomes Hillary Clinton's remarks on agriculture and improving crop yields

Rome 6 August 2009: Reacting to remarks made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to Kenya, Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said, "Coming on the heels of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila, Secretary Clinton's comments send a clear signal that the United States is committed to the effort to turn the pledges made by world leaders in Italy last month into action".

"Investing in agriculture -- and in particular smallholder agriculture -- is indeed the most cost-effective way of reducing poverty, saving and improving lives."

Nwanze thanked Secretary Clinton for keeping the global spotlight on agriculture and rural poverty.

"After the historic pledge of US$20 billion for sustainable agriculture development, the world is eager to see concrete actions that will translate into improvements in the lives of poor people in developing countries, he said. "There is no time to lose."

The L'Aquila Food Security Initiative has been hailed as a major commitment to root out hunger and poverty, prompted mainly by the recognition that the global economic slowdown has pushed 90 million more people into extreme poverty.

Nwanze noted that "The Initiative, as well as Secretary Clinton's remarks, reflects a shift in emphasis – from dependence on food aid to greater investment in agriculture as a key to eradicating poverty".

"With a significant increase in the flow of external resources to agriculture, much will still depend on how these resources are spent; most importantly, whether higher commitments for agricultural development will trigger a matching response from developing countries by putting in place the right policy framework to support farmers."

Nwanze concluded by applauding Secretary Clinton's perspective and added that farming today, including smallholder farming, is a modern commercial enterprise.

Press release No.: IFAD/37/09

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes, and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$11 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering some 340 million people to break out of poverty. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 165 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).