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General Statement by the Governor for Japan, Mr. Yuji Nakamura, Ambassador to Italy to 29th session of the IFAD Governing Council of IFAD

Mr. Chairman,
President Bäge,
Distinguished Delegates,

As this is my first opportunity to attend this Governing Council, allow me to say, first of all, that it is a great honour for me to work together with you all, in my capacity as the Governor for Japan on this Twenty-ninth Session of the Governing council and other activities of IFAD.

Mr. Chairman,

With the large majority of people in developing countries living in rural areas and relying on agriculture as their main source of income, supporting agricultural sector has major implications for the growth of developing countries. To achieve reduction of poverty through increased economic growth, agricultural development and rural development is a key area towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. One of the prominent features of Japan's ODA is that the significant portion of its bilateral aid is devoted agricultural sector, the highest percentage among DAC countries. At the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005, Japan made a point by securing agricultural development's prominence in the development agenda of G8 for Africa.

Japan seeks to support agriculture in developing countries by:

  • accelerating agricultural productivity growth:
  • fostering closer link between small holders and agricultural markets; and
  • promoting capacity of government organizations and small-scale producers.

Those supports include investing in core public goods related to physical, human, and social capital such as infrastructure, agricultural research and support to the formation of smallholders'organizations. I would like to mention in particular Japan's long-standing support to agricultural research and extension service of NERICA - New Rice for Africa - which combines the best traits of cultivated rice varieties of Asia and Africa. To disseminate this new type of rice in Africa, Japan is now concentrating its efforts in Guinea and Uganda to collect valuable feedback and to extend its benefits to neighbouring countries.

Mr. Chairman,

The potential and urgency for getting agriculture back onto the major development agenda have never been greater. Broad-based agricultural growth in low-income countries is essential to reach the Millennium Development Goal. In our efforts in making agriculture the engine of growth for the majority of the world's people who depend directly or indirectly on agriculture, Japan sees IFAD as the one of the most important organizations with its exclusive focus on rural development. To raise global awareness of agriculture's role in reducing poverty, Japan co-sponsored IFAD's side event held on the occasion of the UN General Assembly in 2005 with emphasis on the economic empowerment of rural women.

In winding up our participation in the consultation on the Seventh Replenishment of IFAD's Resources, Japan made a pledge of contributing 33 million US dollars, thereby increasing its contribution by 10% over the last Replenishment. Despite financial constraints faced by my Government, the vital importance of IFAD's mission was able to command greater attention by communicating through your supporters in Japan the impact of agricultural investments on economic growth and welfare of rural poor people.

The critical challenge now is for IFAD to demonstrate its distinctive role in raising food security and income from agriculture among the poor rural people. By improving the monitoring and evaluation of IFAD's agricultural investments, IFAD is expected to make understand the magnitude of the impacts of its projects. In doing so, the development community will increase likelihood that more and better investments are made in agriculture and that the world comes closer to attaining the MDGs.

I wish Mr. President Bäge and IFAD management all the success in your reinvigorated mission.

Thank you.