Our stories

Browse the full archive of field stories from programmes and projects supported by IFAD and partners around the world. Linked below, these stories reside on the Rural Poverty Portal, powered by IFAD.


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Peru: The Majaz case
In 2001, Monterrico Metals plc., acquired 8 mining concessions in Peru, one of which concerns the Río Blanco project in the north of Peru. If everything goes as planned, said project will involve opening one of the largest open pit copper mines of Peru, clearing the way for a large-scale mining district in the High Amazone region with serious social-economic and ecological consequences. Read more


Producing climate smart cassava in Mozambique
As climate change continues to devastate rural farming, one IFAD project is using stem plantation to help farmers adapt. Read more


Building a better life for rural youth in El Salvador
As IFAD commemorates a 30-year partnership with El Salvador during ‘IFAD Week' – we look at the challenges and opportunities faced by rural youth in the country. Read more


Bong tree farming raises income of former rice farmers in Laos
Farmers in Laos are rediscovering the value of a traditional crop – the bark of the bong tree. Because the once-abundant bong trees are now on the endangered species list, smallholders are establishing profitable plantations to meet the growing demand for the aromatic bark. Read more


Addressing malnutrition among smallholder farming communities
On 22 July 2015, IFAD-funded Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Programme(SAPP) in Zambia embarked on a food survey. This is the first food survey in an IFAD-supported programme and it aims to assess the food consumption pattern and the underlying factors necessary to ensure adequate food intake. Read more


Value-chain approach in smallholder agribusiness: a roadmap to good nutrition
Ever wondered how pastoralists earn their livelihoods and make a living? Read more


ZNFU4455: An SMS service offering smallholder producers in Zambia a brighter future
Once a luxury item, mobile telephony is now a catalyst to bring about economic development and social inclusion in developing countries, especially in Africa. For economist Jeffry Sachs "mobile telephony is the single most transformative technology for development". Read more


Growing food, tapping into new markets: a photo blogpost from the island of Viti Levu, Fiji
I stopped off in Fiji for a few days last week before arriving in Samoa for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. I wanted to see some of the work that IFAD is doing in the country. Through the Partnership in High Value Agriculture Project (PHVA), farmers are learning to grow a variety of produce and to tap into the high-demand tourism and hospitality market. Read more


What can Make or a Break a Farmer
If you are a farmer with land to harvest and your machinery is old and often broken, you have a problem. If you need to feed your family and earn a living from your crops, you have an even bigger problem. And if you work hard and have vast experience on how to cultivate the land, but lack the resources to invest in modern machinery, you still have a problem. Read more


Flowers and Food Security
Do you know what is the national flower of Hawaii, Haiti, Malaysia and South Korea? The delicious tea made from its flowers can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, boost the immune system and help weight loss. In some countries it's used as a vegetable and as a natural food coloring and is used to make paper. Wearing it can also denote if a woman is married or single. Read more


Addressing malnutrition among smallholder farming communities
On 22 July 2015, IFAD-funded Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Programme (SAPP) in Zambia embarked on a food survey. This is the first food survey in an IFAD-supported programme and it aims to assess the food consumption pattern and the underlying factors necessary to ensure adequate food intake. Read more


Sweet success: Revitalizing cocoa production and export in São Tome and Principe
More than a decade ago, cocoa producers here were suffering because of falling global prices for their exports. Many abandoned their plantations. But today, with support from IFAD and its partners, 1,800 small-scale producers have a total of about 2,400 hectares under cultivation for cocoa. Read more


The possibilities are endless: A photo blogpost from Western Kenya
I just spent a week in Western Kenya visiting farmers who participate in IFAD-funded projects. Getting out of the office and out to the field is always a deeply moving experience for me. It is not just about the thrill of being in a new environment, trekking through the countryside and getting my boots dirty, while carrying a heavy camera bag. Read more


Making better lives in Laos
For poor smallholders the world over, building a better life takes energy, hard work and commitment day after day. Laos: a rural perspective is a book of photographs that show the daily lives of men and women farmers − growing and selling more nutritious food, learning new skills and running small businesses. Read more


Growing more food and using less water while preserving the natural environment in Guanghe County, China
Plastic-sheet mulching is an agricultural technology used to retain soil moisture, reduce weeds and raise soil temperatures. Sheets are stretched over raised vegetable beds and holes are punched into them to make room for seeds or seedlings. In Guanghe County, which is between the Loess and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Gansu Province, plastic mulching has been extensively adopted in upland crop farming. Read more


Improving incomes for rice farmers: a photo blogpost from Cambodia
This is a story about hardship and resilience. It's a story about people who struggle against chronic poverty and hunger. It's about rice farmers who sometimes don't have enough food to eat, but who are determined to improve their lives. It is a story of triumph. Read more


Investing in rural infrastructure, transforming rural areas
On 1 July 2015, the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Project in Uganda, also known as CAIIP, held its project completion workshop. We, at IFAD, consider CAIIP as a flagship project in the IFAD-funded Uganda portfolio. And this is because throughout its life cycle, the project was able to rehabilitate more than 5000 kilometres of District Feeder Roads and improve the quality of Community Access Roads (CARs). Read more


Protecting the environment through sustainable production
The Sustainable Land Management in the Semi-Arid Sertão Project was designed as a complement to the IFAD-financed Dom Helder Câmara Project (DHCP), which ran from 1998 to 2007 in various areas of the semi-arid northeastern Brazil. The Sertão Project aimed to address pressing environmental and land degradation issues, and to build resilience to climate change. The project focused on the caatinga — a uniquely Brazilian scrub forest covering approximately 10 per cent of the total area of the country. The caatinga is one of Brazil's most threatened natural landscapes. Read more


Haiti: Sharing knowledge across the border with the Dominican Republic
The border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is a poor region, but it is critically important to both countries. On the Haitian side, in particular, there is substantial yet unexploited economic potential. Read more


Exporting vegetables: a new challenge for Guatemalan indigenous women
In the central highlands of Guatemala, indigenous rural families depend primarily on the land to make a living. The project Productive Capacity Building for Mujeres Cuatro Pinos, has worked with a cooperative made up of 275 indigenous women producers and their families, to diversify their income sources and improve their livelihoods. Read more


Empowering communities to innovate for rural development
Over the last 15 years, IFAD-funded development projects in the Southern Highlands of Peru have generated considerable knowledge, experience and good practices on empowering poor rural people and their associations. They have raised the interest of other IFAD and external practitioners and a high demand for knowledge sharing. Yet, the processes and methods that made these results possible remain poorly understood. Read more


Equal rights begin in the home: household mentoring in Uganda
Household mentoring is an innovative tool that provides the skills and knowledge that enable poor families to improve their well-being and incomes. And, as an IFAD-supported programme in Uganda has shown, it also promotes greater equality and shared decision-making among household members. Read more


Reaching the poorest through household mentoring
The poorest of the rural poor are always difficult to target, for both IFAD and governments. Often illiterate and isolated, they have such great needs that reaching them on a significant scale remains a challenge. In Uganda, IFAD has been working with the government to pilot a methodology that is helping to bridge that gap and change the lives and outlook of the most vulnerable households. Read more


Ethiopia's youth making their mark in agriculture
4 NOVEMBER 2014 – Until now, farming has not been an obvious choice for Ethiopia's youth. Barriers to owning land and other assets have fuelled the steady migration of young people to urban centres. Now, however, the IFAD-supported Participatory Small Scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP) in the northern region of Tigray is providing a viable alternative by offering some young people new opportunities, including pursuing their own farming businesses. Read more


Transforming the coffee value chain in Ethiopia
Smallholder coffee producers working with the IFAD-funded Agricultural Marketing Improvement Programme (AMIP) are proud of having helped to transform the Ethiopian coffee value chain, making it inclusive and efficient. In less than seven years, the programme has established eight coffee "liquoring" or tasting centres, the first of their kind in rural areas, and provided the necessary equipment and training to Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) staff. Thanks to these interventions, today the coffee tasting centres offer internationally recognized coffee grading and trading services. Read more


The marvels of investing in agriculture and believing in the power and potential of smallholder farmers in Azerbaijan
IFAD-funded interventions in Azerbaijan which are closely aligned to the country's agriculture and rural development strategies have helped develop the agriculture sector as a dominant force in the rural economy and improve food security by providing rural communities with access to assets and services for the sustainable management of natural resources, including improved irrigation and rangeland management. Read more


Family farmers grow fruit and vegetables thanks to irrigation schemes in Rwanda
Popularly known as ‘the land of a thousand hills' – U Rwanda rw'imisozi igihumbi – Rwanda has a beautiful landscape made up of endless undulating hills and valleys stretching as far as the eye can see. The people who work the land are proud of its beauty. But the terrain poses a number of challenges to smallholder farmers – the most serious being soil erosion and land degradation. Read more


Successful IFAD-supported project helps influence national policy in The Gambia
The Gambia is taking steady steps towards prosperity by scaling up proven land and water management practices across the country and developing national policies to back these efforts. Read more


Introducing new technology for small scale coffee growers
Thanks to its ideal climate in the high plateaux of Eastern Africa, Ethiopia is producing some of the best coffee in the world with unique arabica varieties not found anywhere else. Coffee is also a great source of income for the country, representing about 30 percent of its total export and is grown over an area estimated at about 400,000 hectares. Unlike the vast coffee plantations found in other parts of the World, in Ethiopia coffee is still grown mainly by small scale farmers who do not benefit from the same technology and awareness of quality as their counterparts elsewhere. Read more


Modernizing the coffee value chain in Ethiopia
Coffee is an important commodity in Ethiopia, representing almost a third of the country's export. As well as being the largest export crop and one of the best quality of arabica in the world, coffee is also a traditional beverage consumed daily. Half of the coffee produced is consumed nationally. Drinking coffee in Ethiopia is part of a traditional ceremony which involves not only the art of consuming the beverage but also the strengthening of family, friendship and social bonds. Read more


Emerging Myanmar Aims to Catch Up to Its Neighbors
In her bare-bones classroom, Daw Myat Marlar makes a wish for her young students from Myanmar's densely populated but energy-starved Ayeyarwady Delta. "I want them to be educated so they have more opportunities, and life won't be as hard for them as it is now." Read more


Kenya's farm makeover show, Shamba Shape-Up, offers practical advice to smallholders
With the latest series of Kenya's most watched agriculture TV show well under way, IFAD has been answering smallholder farmers' questions on issues ranging from cow care to climate-change adaption. Read more


Innovation for greater impact: projects working together for greater poverty reduction
The Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP), supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) successfully introduced commercial oil palm farming in Uganda and supported the oilseed value chain. The project has now been scaled up through a second phase (VODP2) under which oil palm growing will be expanded to other suitable areas of the country. VODP2 has been working in close partnership with another IFAD-supported Rural Financial Services Programme (RFSP) to provide financial services to small-scale oil palm growers. Read more


Promoting micro-finance services for the youth
Successfully involving youth in agriculture can be a serious challenge, especially when young people living in remote rural areas are disempowered because of lack of assets and limited economic prospects. In Uganda, the Rural Financial Services Programme (RFSP), supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with a USD 18.3 million loan, has succeeded in attracting the youth to join the Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) it has helped promote. Read more


Agro processing facilities at farmers' doorstep has improved incomes
The Community Agriculture Infrastructure Improvement Programme (CAIIP) is an US$81.9 million programme, co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the African Development Bank. It is implemented in 35 Districts in Central and Eastern Uganda. Its objective is to improve infrastructure for small scale farmers in remote rural areas and improve their access to markets and services. Read more


Oilseeds value chain knowledge learning platform helps farmers
The Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Uganda and now in its second phase, has introduced innovative ways to help farmers benefit from a better organised oilseeds value chain. Read more


Monitoring social transformation for the vulnerable using visioning and household mentoring
The District Livelihoods Support Programme (DLSP), implemented by the Ministry of Local Government in Uganda, and funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has been piloting the use of visioning and household mentoring as a new approach to tackle rural poverty among poor communities. Read more


Guinea pigs bring prosperity to poor women in China
Poor women in a remote region of China have built up their businesses and worked their way out of poverty thanks to an IFAD-supported project that has taught them how to raise guinea pigs. The meat from these fast-breeding animals is a delicacy in Chinese cities and the project participants have tapped into these markets. Read more


Women living with HIV empowerment through better rearing of goats
Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Programme (SAPP) is a program under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). SAPP has made attempts to streamline crosscutting issues such as HIV and AIDs into its programming and interventions. Beyond creating awareness and sharing of messages on HIV and AIDS among the Programme's target groups, SAPP has in some specifically targeted groups that are directly affected by HIV and AIDS, as part of the wider efforts by government and other partners to respond to and mitigate the effects of HIV and AIDS. One such group is the Harmony women's club in Batoka area of Southern Province. Read more


Participatory process for road selection becomes a best practice in Mozambique
In rural Mozambique many smallholder farmers are prevented from selling their products to the market because of a lack of good access roads in remote rural areas. The Programme for the Promotion of Rural Markets (Programa de Promoçao de Mercados Rurais-PROMER) supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Mozambique, is contributing to change the situation. Read more


Living up to the challenge of creating market linkages in Mozambique
Trying to create a profitable agricultural market where smallholder farmers were previously involved in subsistence farming is a very difficult task and sometimes an uphill struggle. In Mozambique, the Programme for the Promotion of Rural Markets (Programma de Promoçao de Mercados Rurais-PROMER) supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Mozambique have taken up the challenge and is showing very encouraging results. Read more


Community Radio reaching out to small scale farmers in Mozambique
Local radio stations can be a powerful means of communication, particularly to smallholder farmers located in remote rural places. When listening to the radio, they feel connected to the rest of the world and become better informed. In northern Mozambique, the Programme for the Promotion of Rural Markets (Programa de Promoçao de Mercados Rurais-PROMER), supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Mozambique, is using community radio stations as a creative way to disseminate market price and product information. Read more


Literacy Programme empowers farmers to sell at market
In northern Mozambique, the Programme for the Promotion of Rural Markets (Programa de Promoçao de Mercados Rurais-PROMER) has become very popular with local farmers communities thanks to a literacy programme it introduced to empower them to better sell at market and negotiate trade contracts. Read more


Bringing land plots together to increase agricultural productivity
Intensifiying agricultural production is one of the key objectives of the Rwandan government to reduce poverty and guarantee food security. The Crop Intensification Programme (CIP) was introduced in 2007 at the national level to increase agricultural productivity and reduce import of staple agricultural products such as rice. Read more


Increasing access to financial services for poor rural people through policy dialogue and strengthened institutions
"Joining a SACCO opened my eyes, for long I did not know the benefits. All my enterprises now are supported by the SACCO, so why not value it especially at my age?" Read more


Supporting Natural Resources Management through Community Innovation Centres
The Centre Communautaire d'Innovation (CCI) or Community Innovation Centres were first introduced in Rwanda to provide technical and organisational support to small farmers as part of a pilot project supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Support Project for the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PAPSTA). The initiative became so successful that it was replicated and extended in 2010 under a new project, the Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP). Read more


A new biogas system for Africa
Biogas is becoming increasingly more popular as a form of energy to power rural communities in Africa who live far away from the electricity grid. As a low-cost integrated system providing alternative energy as well as organic manure, it also provides an answer to reducing gas emissions and improving soil fertility. Read more


Sacred cows of Rwanda
For small farmers in Rwanda, livestock and cows in particular, are an important element of a household, considered as an economic asset as well as a symbol of wealth and social status. "The best wedding gift someone can give in Rwanda is a cow," explained Seraphine Umurerwa, Team Leader at Heifer Project International (HPI), the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) specialized in livestock. Read more


République Centrafricaine: appui du Projet de Relance des cultures Vivrières et du petit Elevage dans les Savanes (PREVES)
L'histoire de la République Centrafricaine, pendant ces deux dernières décennies, a été fortement marquée par des crises socio économiques et militaro politiques à répétition. Les effets de la longue période de crises sur le secteur agricole sont marqués entre autres par: un retour à une agriculture de subsistance, une décapitalisation des exploitants, et une insécurité alimentaire plus marquée des petits exploitants. Read more


Conservation practices made worthwhile
Deep ravines and gullies gutting into hillsides define the rolling valleys within the Lake Tana watershed. Soil erosion is a widespread primary factor degrading fertile lands within Ethiopia, causing an estimated loss of two billion tons of fertile soils, and reducing the agricultural GDP but 2.3% a year. Read more