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IFAD and rural institutions

IFAD views as the principal cause of poverty, especially in rural areas, not scarcity of productive resources so much as secure access to them. IFAD argues that in order to secure such access, which is equitable, efficient and sustainable, it must be market-based, subject to the following qualifications:



  • The poor must have open access to markets (input, output and services). Markets at all levels must provide a level playing field.
  • Since markets in themselves do not favour the poor, institutions and policies should be enacted and enforced that ensure market inclusiveness and non-concentration of power in the hands of the few.
  • The poor must be organized into effective groups, or, where existing, such groups should be strengthened so that they can ensure that pro-poor policies are enforced; in the event that they do not exist, ensuring that such policies are enacted.
  • Social safety nets, both informal (traditional systems) and formal (modern, state supported), should be revitalized or developed to take care of those who "slip through the gaps", as will likely happen, no matter how careful one is.

In focus

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  • In many developing countries, smallholder farmers struggle to make ends meet, lacking access to credit, quality seed, markets and other resources. In her AgTalk, Beatrice Makwenda, Policy and Programmes Coordinator of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), explains how her organization turned farmer members into a formidable force for collective action, leveraging lucrative markets

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