IFAD and China invest US$256.7 million to reduce poverty and improve incomes for smallholder farmers in Qinba Mountains

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IFAD and China invest US$256.7 million to reduce poverty and improve incomes for smallholder farmers in Qinba Mountains

Rome, 8 May 2018 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and China signed an agreement today to finance a project that aims to reduce poverty and improve incomes for 339,561 smallholder farmers in the Qinba Mountains in south Shaanxi by increasing their access to finance and market opportunities. The project aims to contribute to China's goal of eradicating rural poverty by 2020.

The agreement for the Sustaining Poverty Reduction through Agribusiness Development in South Shaanxi was signed by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, and Jiaoqun Shi, Deputy Permanent Representative of China.

The total cost of the new project is US$256.7 million, including a $72 million loan from IFAD. The project will be cofinanced by the Government of China ($79.5 million), and agribusiness enterprises and cooperatives, to be identified. It will be implemented over five years.

Though China has drastically reduced poverty over the last 40 years, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, some 30 million people in rural areas are still living below the poverty line. They often live in remote areas with few options to improve their incomes and living conditions.

“The aim of the project is to reduce poverty and increase smallholder farmers’ incomes by improving access to finance and new markets – including helping farmers to benefit from the growing urban demand for safe, high-quality food,” said Matteo Marchisio, the newly appointed IFAD Country Director, China.

“The project will provide agribusiness enterprises incentives to engage with the smallholder farmers by laying the groundwork for fair and mutually beneficial contractual arrangements. Ant Financial, has expressed intent to collaborate on the implementation of this project,” he added.

The project will be implemented in nine nationally designated poor counties within the three municipalities of Hanzhong, Ankang and Shangluo in the Qinba Mountains in south Shaanxi Province.

Since 1981, IFAD has supported 30 rural development projects in China, investing over $934 million and reaching almost 4.5 million rural households. IFAD-supported projects focus on enhancing income opportunities through improving rural people’s access to markets, strengthening value chains and promoting more inclusive financial services.

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$19.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 474 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

Press release No.: IFAD/33/2018

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Susan Beccio

Regional Communication Officer, Asia and the Pacific