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Overview

The Asia and the Pacific region is a rural development paradox: it is has seen some of the most dramatic economic transformations, but bears some of the most enduring challenges.

Vast and densely populated, the region remains home to two thirds of the world’s poorest people. As income inequality widens, poverty is becoming a more rural and acute phenomenon.

Social deprivation and high rates of malnutrition and stunting are reducing the physical and mental capacity of vulnerable groups across the region, at a significant human and economic cost. Across the region, 30 per cent of children under five are stunted.

Vulnerability to climate change, natural disasters and a gradual degradation of the productive resource base are growing problems. In some cases, climate change is already posing an existential threat, with a number of Pacific islands severely threatened by rising sea levels.

Inequality between urban and rural areas

Small farm businesses across the region are struggling in the face of rural-urban migration, land and water degradation, and economic, institutional and political constraints.

Much of the region lacks the basic infrastructure to ensuring integration with the global economy through efficient market linkages. Such integration is vital for strengthening intra- and interregional trade through emerging common markets such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

These are all formidable challenges which the region must overcome to continue to be a powerful engine for global prosperity and growth.

Partnering against poverty

IFAD is empowering smallholders through its loan and grant programmes, policy engagement, and pro-poor partnerships across the policy spectrum, working with local people, governments, donors and the private sector.

By the end of 2016, IFAD had invested US$2.4 billion in the region’s ongoing portfolio for 67 projects in 21 countries.

IFAD is especially active where problems are most acute. We work in Pacific island nations such as Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, where ongoing projects are combating the impact of climate change, and supporting community-led development processes.

In the fight against climate change and the struggle for the enhancement of rural productivity, prosperity and quality of life, collaboration is key.

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China and India are the world’s most populous nations, together accounting for some 37 per cent of the global population in 2015.

Across the Asia and Pacific region, 560 million people live on less than $1.25 a day, with about 260 million of those people living in India.

In spite of rapid urbanization, more than half of the population in the region still lives in rural areas, and most are engaged in agriculture.



Spotlight

Boosting nutrition one TV show at a time in Laos

In rural communities in northern Laos, an IFAD supported programme is using a television soap opera to help tackle extreme poverty and malnutrition.

Projects and programmes

Myanmar

Fostering Agricultural Revitalization in Myanmar Project
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Pakistan

Livestock and Access to Markets Project
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Indonesia

South Sumatera Smallholder Tree Crops Development Project
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Related news

IFAD and Bangladesh invest US$92.4 million to improve livelihoods for poorest rural households in flood-prone areas

February 2018 - NEWS
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Bangladesh signed a financing agreement today to sustainably improve incomes and promote resilience to extreme weather conditions for 303,000 rural households in six flood-prone districts in northern Bangladesh.

IFAD and Indonesia invest US$55 million to sustainably improve smallholder farmers` incomes and livelihoods

January 2018 - NEWS
he International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Indonesia signed a financing agreement earlier this month to sustainably improve incomes and livelihoods and improve nutrition for 67,400 rural smallholder farming households in 18 districts in Sulawesi Island, West Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara.

IFAD and India invest US$168 million to increase farming incomes for tribal households in Mizoram and Nagaland States

January 2018 - NEWS
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and India have signed a financing agreement to sustainably improve incomes and food and nutrition security for 201,500 rural highland farming households in tribal villages in 12 districts located in Mizoram and Nagaland States.

Related publications

Grant Results Sheet: Integrated crop– livestock conservation agriculture for sustainable intensification of cereal-based systems in Central and West Asia and North Africa

February 2018
The goal was to improve the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers through the adoption of integrated crop–livestock conservation agriculture.
LANGUAGES: English

Investing in Rural Indonesia

January 2018
Investing in Rural Indonesia: Building resilience to climate change, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, improving nutrition and fostering youth employment are critical goals in all of our programmes.
LANGUAGES: English

Reducing Poverty in Coastal Communities in Indonesia

January 2018
Coastal Community Development Project (2012 - 2017): Increased household incomes for families involved in fisheries and marine activities in poor coastal and small island communities.
LANGUAGES: English

Contact us

For more information about IFAD's work in Asia and the Pacific, please contact Nigel M. Brett, Lead Portfolio Advisor, at n.brett@ifad.org.