US$47 million IFAD loan for small farmers in China to prepare for climate calamities

ChinaRome, 20 January 2012 – Coming on the heels of new data released by the government of the People's Republic of China that more farmers are migrating to the cities, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today announced an US$47 million loan to the country to enhance the livelihoods of rural women and men.

Guo Handi, Deputy Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations Rome-based agencies, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, signed the loan agreement today.

Despite China's strong and sustained economic growth, poverty is still persistent, especially in remote rural areas. Even with the increased movement to urban areas, the rural population is bursting at 656.56 million people. In recent years, the government has made concerted efforts to increase agricultural production, and to raise the incomes and nutrition levels of rural people.

The Guangxi Integrated Agricultural Development Project will benefit about 1.92 million rural women and men in eight counties of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. IFAD's loan accounts for 48 per cent of the total project cost of 97 million, with the remaining balance to be contributed by the Guangxi government and the beneficiaries of the project.

The project aims to increase smallholder farmers' production by scaling up innovative approaches to agriculture, and to improve their access to markets, information and technology. While improving the living conditions of poor families, the project also aims to strengthen the communities' resilience to climate-induced calamities. Natural disasters, such as droughts, have increased in frequency and intensity, posing a growing challenge to smallholder farmers.

This new project brings IFAD's commitment to China to a total of $637.57 million. Thirty million people in 21 provinces have benefited from IFAD-financed programmes and projects since the agency began its work in China in 1981.

Press release No.: IFAD/03/2012

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$13.2 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects empowering about 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 Nation's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 167 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).