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General Statement of the Governor, Ambassador of Japan to Italyto the 30th Session of IFAD's Governing Council

Mr Chairman,
President Båge,
and distinguished delegates,

It is a great honor for me to address the thirtieth session of the Governing Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Mr Chairman,

We are still faced with the reality that nearly 70% of the poor people in the developing countries live in rural areas, with their lives relying mainly on agriculture.  In many developing countries, assistance to agriculture and rural development has twofold significance in reducing poverty.  One is to raise income of the rural poor and to secure employment in the rural areas.  The other is to boost the economic growth of the countries in which agriculture is the key industry.  It is also necessary to note that agriculture is closely linked to global issues such as water, food, energy, environment and disaster.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain to you that we have three concepts that are the guiding principles for Japan development assistance in the area of agriculture: human security, comprehensiveness, and fairness.

First of all, Japan attaches importance to the viewpoint of "human security", together with the ownership of developing countries.  "Human security" is the idea of strengthening protection and capacity of individuals and local communities in order to protect people from threat against survival and life, and creating society where individuals can fulfil their lives with dignity and self-realization.  In the area of agriculture, Japan aims at strengthening of rural people's capacity by assistance with the participation of local community, in order to raise the living standard of poor farmers and to secure employment opportunities in farming villages.  IFAD's new strategy includes an objective of giving capacities of achieving higher income and better food security to the people in farming villages of developing countries.  The idea of reinforcing capacities of the poor people to overcome poverty by themselves is also seen in "human security".

Second, a comprehensive approach is indispensable for development of agriculture and rural areas.  Assistance should take into scope a series of sequences from production, processing, distribution, and marketing.  Japan's assistance focuses on technical and financial cooperation which would directly benefit people such as development and dissemination of agricultural production technologies, irrigation, field roads, and port facilities.  We help development and processing of products from farm, livestock and fisheries as well as organization of farmers, and marketing.  We also attach importance to building infrastructures to connect farm villages with cities and ports, which are necessary for promotion of wider distribution and export.  If Japan and IFAD can cooperate in such a way that Japan's NERICA rice and IFAD's community assistance are mutually supplementary, we can expect further positive effects o sustainability and development.

Third, the principle of fairness is closely related to the reduction of regional disparities in developing countries.  It is important to promote local industries with the use of local resources which would create new employment other than agriculture and might lead to rising living standard of the youth and women and strengthening of their capacities.  In this regard, I wish to introduce an innovative rural initiative called "One Village, One Product Campaign." This initiative was originally launched to revitalize a local community in Japan, but this initiative has been introduced in some Asian and African countries.  It brought about excellent outcomes in Thailand.  "One Village, One Product Campaign" is now introduced in Malawi in order to increase the income level of farmers by raising the values added to farm products.  The principle of fairness is also related to the gender equality.  On the occasion of the UN General Assembly last September, Japan held a side-event in cooperation with IFAD and UNOHRILL with the theme of "Women's role in combating desertification in the least developed countries", where we stressed that gender requires important consideration in dealing with desertification.

In concluding my remarks, I would like to stress again the great importance of the role of IFAD as a unique catalyst for making a big difference in raising agricultural production and productivity among the rural people by further cooperating with the member countries of IFAD.  I look forward to working with all of you in years ahead to support IFAD's performance in rural development.

Thank you.

H.E. Mr Yuji Nakamura
Governor for Japan, Ambassador of Japan to Italy