IFAD President Nwanze welcomes Canadian initiative on nutrition and food security

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IFAD President Nwanze welcomes Canadian initiative on nutrition and food security

Pre-G8 talks in London

Rome, 10 June 2013 – On the eve of the G8 summit, to tackle the challenges of hunger and undernutrition, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze, joined senior government officials, representatives from the business and scientific communities and members of civil society organizations at a meeting in London on Nutrition for Growth.

The government of the United Kingdom, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and the government of Brazil co-hosted the high-level international meeting - Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science - where they committed to supporting a historic reduction in "undernutrition". The event followed on from the UK-Brazil Hunger Summit held in London last summer, which highlighted the shattering consequences of undernutrition in children.

Julian Fantino, Canada's Minister of International Cooperation, announced his country's initiatives that will strengthen the capacity of developing countries to address undernutrition, particularly among mothers and children. Among the initiatives is Canada's support for efforts by IFAD to assist smallholder farmers and the private sector in improving the production of nutritious food and promoting agricultural innovations.

"A vibrant private sector creates jobs, boosts incomes and drives sustainable economic growth helping to alleviate poverty," said Fantino. "Canada's global leadership and partnership with IFAD will help increase the results achieved for smallholder farmers by encouraging greater involvement by the private sector."

Nwanze welcomed Canada's support and stated that the country is a leader in nutrition improvement. The Canadian initiative comes at a time when IFAD is enhancing its focus on nutrition, which is a return to first principles in the agreement establishing IFAD that highlights "the importance of improving the nutritional level of the poorest populations in developing countries and the conditions of their lives."

"IFAD's focus on agriculture and nutrition has a rural bias: around three quarters of undernourished people live in low-income rural areas of developing countries. This reflects a cruel irony: that those who grow the food are those who too often are malnourished and go hungry" said Nwanze. "IFAD welcomes the commitments made by governments and other development partners to the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact and is committed to taking action on undernutrition."

Over the years, IFAD has worked to enable smallholder farmers across the developing world to increase production and productivity and to access markets and integrate their production into value chains. Experience now shows that improvements in productivity and increases in income would not automatically lead to improved nutritional status. There are cases where improved incomes and productivity have been accompanied by persistent undernutrition and micronutrient malnutrition.

In January 2013, the UK assumed the one-year Presidency of the G8. Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, USA and UK will meet at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland for the G8 Summit 17-18 June.

Prime Minister David Cameron is vigorously working on three issues which are critical for growth, prosperity and economic development across the world. He has underlined that as trade between developing countries is growing, an Africa that can trade will be a lion of global growth.

Press release No.: IFAD/28/2013

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 about US$14.9 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects empowering over 410 million people to break out of poverty, thereby helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nations' food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 172 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).