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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.

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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)
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Nepal

Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP)
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India

Fostering Climate Resilient Upland Farming Systems (FOCUS)
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Related news

Productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers increased through IFAD and Nepal partnership – new report.

December 2019 - NEWS

Rural development projects financed and supported by IFAD have contributed to increased agricultural productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in Nepal, according to a new report presented today.

IFAD, together with ASEAN invests in reducing transboundary haze pollution in Southeast Asia

December 2019 - NEWS
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and ASEAN Secretariat have launched the Measurable Action for Haze-Free Sustainable Land Management in Southeast Asia (MAHFSA) Programme today to reduce transboundary haze pollution and its impacts in Southeast Asia.

IFAD calls on governments in Asia and Pacific region to invest in their rural youth

November 2019 - NEWS
With about 60 per cent of the developing world’s rural youth living in Asian and Pacific countries, specific and effective policies and investments are urgently needed to offer them a future, according to a report by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to be presented at Peking University today.

Related publications

Investing in rural people in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

March 2020

IFAD began operations in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1978. Our strategy is to ensure that poor rural people have more opportunities for sustainable food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods.

Stories from the field: Innovative agriculture

March 2020
Unlocking opportunities for rural entrepreneurs and farmers in the sub-Mekong region.

Research Series Issue 58: Investing in rural youth in the Asia and the Pacific region

December 2019
This study characterizes the structural and rural transformation of the Asia and the Pacific region.

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