China is the most populous country in the world, home to almost 1.4 billion people. Its immense territory includes vast seacoasts, fertile plains and valleys, rugged mountains and windswept deserts.
Since the start of far-reaching economic reforms in the late 1970s, China has witnessed unparalleled economic growth. This has fuelled a remarkable increase in per capita income, decline in poverty and improvements in all dimensions of human development. The country has also experienced a rapid rural transformation leading to a massive migration from rural areas to urban centres. It has transformed the formerly collectivized agriculture sector, whose productivity was low, to one that is modern and commercial.
China was the first developing country to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of a 50 per cent reduction in extreme poverty and hunger. It is also at the forefront of efforts to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. China’s reform-driven economic growth and a well-funded national poverty reduction programme have together brought about a major reduction in rural poverty.
But despite this remarkable progress, China still faces many challenges. About 56 million people still live below the poverty line, largely in remote mountainous and border areas in the central and western regions. Ethnic minorities are concentrated in these ecologically fragile environments, where water is scarce, soil is poor and natural resources are few. The Government is committed to eradicating rural poverty by 2020.
In 1981, IFAD became one of the first international donors to finance operations in China. We are the only one of China’s development partners dedicated exclusively to reducing poverty and increasing food and nutrition security in rural areas.
IFAD continues to play its unique role in China by:
- contributing to the country’s efforts to eradicate rural poverty by 2020;
- ensuring that smallholders in poor and marginalized areas are not left out from the process of rural transformation and agriculture modernization;
- strengthening the environmental sustainability and climate resilience of agricultural development.
The goal of IFAD’s 2016-2020 country strategic opportunities programme in China is to reduce rural poverty and enable smallholders in priority areas to benefit from rural transformation. The programme aims to:
- increase smallholders’ capacity and opportunities to access markets;
- strengthen environmental sustainability and climate resilience.
The agriculture sector is responsible for 9 per cent of GDP and employs 33 per cent of the workforce.
Urban incomes are three times higher than rural ones.
Since 1981, IFAD has supported 29 programmes and projects in China for a total amount of US$862.4 million, directly benefiting 4,393,300 rural households.