El Salvador is a middle-income country. The economy has transitioned from an agrarian model to a model based on services, consumption and nontraditional agricultural and industrial exports. Despite this shift, 33.3 per cent of the population still lived in rural areas in 2015.
Although the rate of rural poverty decreased by 18 per cent between 2000 and 2013, many rural people continue to live in poverty. Traditionally excluded groups such as indigenous peoples, young people, women and seniors are especially vulnerable.
Poverty in El Salvador is associated with both historic internal issues, such as the civil war, the economic model and natural disasters. More recently, a series of external shocks such as falling coffee prices, the global recession and higher oil prices have contributed to low economic growth and slow progress on social indicators.
Young rural people face many challenges in the country. They are trapped between the lack of access to education, which makes it difficult to enter the formal labour market, and the lack of assets needed to launch a sustainable business. They are also among the main victims of crime and, as a result, many choose to migrate. They are reluctant to work in the agriculture sector because of its low profitability and the perception that agriculture is drudgery.
El Salvador is also highly vulnerable to extreme climatic events. Recurrent droughts result in huge harvest losses, and temperatures are expected to reduce the crop yields by up to 30 per cent within the next decades.
In El Salvador, IFAD loans support family farmers and indigenous peoples in municipalities where poverty is prevalent. Activities help address needs arising after the end of the 12-year internal armed conflict and the 2001 post-earthquake reconstruction process. Local participation and producers’ organizations play a critical role in the implementation of IFAD-funded projects and programmes.
Our strategy in El Salvador (2015-2019) aims to reduce rural poverty by generating wealth and well-being for family farmers.
Key activities include:
- Improving family farmers’ access to resources, technologies and information to enable them to develop more sustainable agriculture and better adapt to climate change
- Promoting economic empowerment of young people, rural women and indigenous peoples through support to agricultural and non-agricultural business and employment opportunities in rural areas
- Contributing to the government’s efforts to make public spending and investments in rural areas more efficient, effective and equitable, through provision of tested methodologies and tools for policy analysis and monitoring, policy dialogue and technical cooperation and participation of civil society
Although El Salvador has become increasingly urban, 37.8 per cent of the population still lives in rural areas.
Especially young people are reluctant to work in the agriculture sector because of its low profitability and the perception that agriculture is drudgery.
IFAD has invested a total of US$156.6 million in 11 programmes and projects related to agricultural development in El Salvador, benefiting 169,500 households.