IFAD President in Canada to discuss joint efforts to improve global food and nutrition security

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IFAD President in Canada to discuss joint efforts to improve global food and nutrition security

Rome, 11 April  2013 – Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will be in Canada next week to confer with senior government officials on extending the impact of their joint efforts to improve food and nutrition security in developing countries.

During his visit on 15-16 April, Nwanze will meet in Ottawa with the Minister for International Cooperation Julian Fantino and members of the management board for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), including its President Margaret Biggs. The parties will discuss ways to further strengthen Canada's collaboration with IFAD, which is founded on a shared commitment to achieving measurable results and efficient use of resources to boost food and nutrition security in developing countries through climate resilient agriculture, empowering rural women and enhancing partnerships with the private sector.

"The partnership between Canada and IFAD is based on the premise that investing in rural communities is crucial for bringing about sustainable long-term solutions to hunger and poverty," Nwanze said prior to his departure. "Rural areas need more investment, and also the right kind of investment."

Nwanze will be arriving in Canada on the heels of his participation in the high-level consultative meeting in Madrid, Spain, which focused on a framework for development and poverty reduction beyond the 2015 target date for the Millennium Development Goals. At the meeting, Nwanze called for inclusive and sustainable rural development to be at the core of any post-2015 development agenda.

Some 70 per cent of the world's poor live in rural areas, and most of them are engaged in small-scale farming. As drivers of economic growth, food and nutrition security, and environmental preservation, they have the potential to transform the future. As Nwanze told the international gathering in Madrid, the way forward must be through partnerships that are sustainable, productive, profitable and inclusive for rural communities in developing countries.

"We believe it is time to look at smallholder farmers in a completely new way – not as charity cases but as people whose innovation, dynamism and hard work will bring prosperity to their communities and greater food security to the world in the decades ahead," Nwanze said. "Rural women and men – including those who today live in poverty – must have the means to contribute to the food and nutrition security of their communities and countries."

For more than 30 years, IFAD has remained one of the largest sources of financing for agriculture and rural development in many developing countries. As one of the top four multilateral institutions working in agriculture in Africa, about half of IFAD financing goes to the continent.

Canada and IFAD work together to help smallholder farmers in the world's poorest countries improve their productivity, increase their incomes and boost their resilience to risks such as climate change. In particular, both consider the role and potential of rural women to be pivotal in ensuring food security, but only if they are socially and economically empowered. For example, in Burundi, Canada and IFAD-supported work helps women who still endure violence a decade after the end of the country's civil war. A unique legal aid programme is helping thousands of women to learn about the law and reclaim their rights.

While in Canada, Nwanze also will travel to Winnipeg for a symposium at the University of Manitoba on 17 April where he will speak to students about the critical role of smallholder farmers in generating shared global prosperity, food for a growing world population, political stability and environmental protection.

Canada is also providing support for IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) to help small-scale farmers, who occupy some of the world's most vulnerable and marginal landscapes, to become more resilient to the multi-faceted effects of climate change. ASAP blends tried-and-tested approaches to rural development with relevant adaptation know-how and technologies. This will increase the capacity of at least 8 million smallholder farmers to expand their livelihood options in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment.

Press release No.: IFAD/19/2013
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested about US$14.8 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects empowering over 400 million people to break out of poverty, thereby helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nations' food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 172 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).