Statement by IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze on declaration by G8 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting

Rome, 20 April 2009 - We welcome the declaration by the G8 Agriculture Ministers at the conclusion of their first ever meeting. The enhanced support for agriculture, to which this document refers, must become a reality -- and quickly. The well-being of 2 billion poor people who depend on smallholder farms in developing countries hinges on it.

Poverty and hunger are inhuman and cannot be tolerated. That is why we are encouraging Ministers to return home and make sure that in all countries, rich and poor, we work together to keep agriculture at the top of their national agendas from now to the G8 Summit in La Maddalena and well beyond. Only if we do this, can we together grow our way out of the global recession.

For IFAD, the Treviso Agriculture Ministers' meeting was a precious opportunity to bring the concerns of the rural poor to an audience which knows the power of agriculture to transform   "developing" countries into "developed" countries. This is an important first step.

IFAD will continue to take every opportunity at the national and regional levels --and on the global scene -- to champion increased investment in smallholder agriculture and rural development.   Protecting and increasing the access of poor rural people to financial services is even more vital now as the global financial crisis bites and remittances shrink.  

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to increase their incomes, build their livelihoods and have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$11 billion in grants and low-interest loans, helping 340 million people in developing countries worldwide. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 165 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Media Advisory MA 03/09