Skip to Content
X

Overview

The Asia and the Pacific region is a rural development paradox: it is has seen some of the most dramatic economic transformations, but bears some of the most enduring challenges.

Vast and densely populated, the region remains home to two thirds of the world’s poorest people. As income inequality widens, poverty is becoming a more rural and acute phenomenon.

Social deprivation and high rates of malnutrition and stunting are reducing the physical and mental capacity of vulnerable groups across the region, at a significant human and economic cost. Across the region, 30 per cent of children under five are stunted.

Vulnerability to climate change, natural disasters and a gradual degradation of the productive resource base are growing problems. In some cases, climate change is already posing an existential threat, with a number of Pacific islands severely threatened by rising sea levels.

Inequality between urban and rural areas

Small farm businesses across the region are struggling in the face of rural-urban migration, land and water degradation, and economic, institutional and political constraints.

Much of the region lacks the basic infrastructure to ensuring integration with the global economy through efficient market linkages. Such integration is vital for strengthening intra- and interregional trade through emerging common markets such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

These are all formidable challenges which the region must overcome to continue to be a powerful engine for global prosperity and growth.

Partnering against poverty

IFAD is empowering smallholders through its loan and grant programmes, policy engagement, and pro-poor partnerships across the policy spectrum, working with local people, governments, donors and the private sector.

By the end of 2016, IFAD had invested US$2.4 billion in the region’s ongoing portfolio for 67 projects in 21 countries.

IFAD is especially active where problems are most acute. We work in Pacific island nations such as Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, where ongoing projects are combating the impact of climate change, and supporting community-led development processes.

In the fight against climate change and the struggle for the enhancement of rural productivity, prosperity and quality of life, collaboration is key.

LEARN MORE

China and India are the world’s most populous nations, together accounting for some 37 per cent of the global population in 2015.

Across the Asia and Pacific region, 560 million people live on less than $1.25 a day, with about 260 million of those people living in India.

In spite of rapid urbanization, more than half of the population in the region still lives in rural areas, and most are engaged in agriculture.


Spotlight

Boosting nutrition one TV show at a time in Laos

In rural communities in northern Laos, an IFAD supported programme is using a television soap opera to help tackle extreme poverty and malnutrition.

Where we work

Projects and programmes

Bangladesh

Promoting Resilience of Vulnerable through Access to Infrastructure, Improved Skills and Information (PROVATI³)
Read More

Nepal

Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP)
Read More

India

Fostering Climate Resilient Upland Farming Systems (FOCUS)
Read More

Related news

Head of UN rural development agency in India to boost efforts to eradicate poverty

October 2019 - NEWS
Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, will meet with government leaders in India this week to strengthen joint efforts to boost farmers’ incomes and build sustainable food systems, and review project activities that have already empowered more than one million rural women.

IFAD and partners invest US$ 30 million in Samoa to make small-scale farming and fishing more profitable and climate-proof

October 2019 - NEWS
IFAD and Samoa have signed a financing agreement to significantly increase agricultural production and incomes for 25,000 smallholder farmer and fisher families, and to help protect against natural disasters on Samoa’s Savai’i and Upolu islands.

Achieving zero hunger means investing in small farmers

August 2019 - NEWS
As world hunger is on the rise for the third year in a row, the UN rural development agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will host, on the side lines of the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7),  an event that examines joint strategies to increase food security and poverty reduction for farmers in Africa. 

Related publications

Investing in rural people in China

October 2019

In 1981, IFAD became one of the first international donors to finance operations in China. IFAD is the only one of China’s development partners dedicated exclusively to reducing poverty and increasing food and nutrition security in rural areas.

Investing in rural people in Bangladesh

September 2019
IFAD has worked in Bangladesh for almost 40 years. It has supported 31 projects, costing a total of US$1,929.8 million, with IFAD financing of US$717.2 million. 

Investing in rural people in the Pacific Islands

September 2019
For almost 40 years, IFAD has been financing initiatives in the Pacific to help rural people improve their lives. In recent years, resources, outreach and membership have expanded. 

Related videos

HglDJPfoBy8
IFAD's work in the Asia Pacific Region
6TobnmZz-1s
Laos: Where the Bong Tree Grows
vDtyvwWT270
Bangladesh: Land of Our Own