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The 50th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Statement by Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD

10 octobre 2022

At the opening of this 50th session, the state of world food security and nutrition is grim.

Let me ask you to consider - can we feed everyone in the world at this time of multiple crises?

And, as importantly, can we do so in a way that ensures our children and grandchildren will also be able to feed themselves?

I believe that we can, and that we must.

But we will only succeed if we are willing to take bold measures and address the underlying and systemic problems within our food systems.

Today’s food crisis is not only the result of the war in Ukraine, or of the COVID pandemic, or of climate change. It is also the result of underinvestment, the overall structure of food systems and glaring inequalities. For example, small-scale farmers receive on average just 6.5 cents of every dollar for the value of the food they produce.

We must address immediate needs, but not at the cost of investing in longer term solutions. We cannot continue to move from crisis to crisis.

Instead, we must focus our efforts to build the resilience of the world’s 3 billion rural people to the full range of the threats they are facing – from climate to conflict, from income shocks to food insecurity.

Small-scale producers are key to reversing the alarming trends we are seeing across the world. They are remarkably productive considering the challenges they face. For example, small farms produce around one-third of global food calories on less than 11 per cent of the farmland. Small farms also support greater biodiversity than large farms.

So, what do we need to do differently to improve food security and nutrition in 2023? And in 2024. And in 2025…

First, we need much more investment in climate change adaptation targeted at small-scale farmers. Currently, small-scale agriculture receive less than 2 per cent of global climate finance. This has to change.

At IFAD, all of our work is looked at through a climate lens. 90 per cent of our climate finance is dedicated to adaptation. Many of our climate adaptation approaches involve nature-based solutions - that is, using ecosystem functions to protect biodiversity and build resilience to climate change.

Second, we need to support small-scale producers and rural SMEs so they can get their products to markets. That means investing in better roads, better storage facilities, and better services in rural areas. And we need to ensure that markets fairly reward them for their work.

Third, we must ensure that rural micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can meet their full potential and generate jobs, especially for young people. Rural SMEs need financing, facilities and training so that they can help build food systems that produce prosperity for rural people. These priorities are at the heart of IFAD’s work with the private sector.

Today’s problems are complex and the challenges interconnected. Our only hope for success is to work together.

That why the CFS is so important.

The CFS has played a vital role over the years in bringing us all together and in promoting the policies we need to achieve a world free of hunger. At this challenging time, let us agree on bold actions, and the necessary funding required.

IFAD will continue to support and share our work with the CFS. We will continue to bring our knowledge on what works - for small-scale farmers and for other rural workers in IFAD’s programs and projects.

Working together, we can make a difference.

We can - and we must - achieve a world where there is food security and nutrition for all.