Today, seven years after the goals were agreed and on the heels of a global pandemic, conflict and economic crises, a world without poverty seems out of reach. The World Bank estimates that, by the end of 2022, 685 million people could still be living in extreme poverty.
Much of this poverty is concentrated in the rural areas of developing countries where International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works. Over the years, IFAD has amplified the voices of rural people and integrated them into value chains, so they can earn and save, while feeding the world and conserving the natural environment.
Here are five ways IFAD is helping to reduce rural poverty.
1. Transforming how food is produced and consumed
It is possible to feed the world a nutritious diet while nurturing the natural environment – and many small-scale farmers are leading the way. With IFAD’s support, they’re supplying quality produce, earning more and giving their customers access to a diverse and healthy diet.
Senegalese women are restoring mangroves while managing profitable businesses like oyster farming and beekeeping. They’re showing how healthy local economies go hand in hand with flourishing ecosystems.
In Guatemala small-scale farmers provide vegetables to schools to be turned into tasty meals. It’s a win-win: children get to eat more nutritious food, while farmers earn well and have reliable buyers.
|After hours of intense preparation, packages of fresh, local produce stand ready for pickup by families of students.|
2. Putting rural people at the heart of climate action
Rural people are least responsible for climate change but are most affected by its impacts. That’s why IFAD puts them at the forefront of climate solutions.
In Bangladesh, early-warning systems predict flash floods, giving farmers and fishers enough notice so that they can protect fields and fisheries.
In Georgia, where fierce winds are turning lush fields into desert, farmers plant trees that protect crops and livestock from the wind, the soil from erosion and, in turn, their incomes. They’re even saving on pesticides, as the increased biodiversity in their fields keeps pests in check.
3. Influencing global debate and global action
IFAD platforms and research are shaping the global conversation, showing the way forward for thriving rural communities and transforming food systems to make them work for everyone.
Spaces like the Latin America and the Caribbean Knowledge Platform give the opportunity to rural practitioners to share knowledge across borders and disciplines.
Sorghum and finger millet are high-yielding grains that grow well in arid and semi-arid conditions, making them the perfect crop for many small-scale farmers. In 2021, thanks to IFAD’s Agricultural Research for Development, five sorghum varieties were developed as commercial crops grown by 40,000 farmers in Kenya and Tanzania.
4. Investing in those most vulnerable
IFAD puts the most vulnerable, remote and marginalized people first. With secure access to land and affordable finance, small-scale producers can invest in their futures and escape poverty.
Farmers organizations bring together rural producers to advocate for their collective livelihoods and build advantageous relationships with other businesses.
By working with banks to access finance and insurance, women’s savings and credit groups in Sudan are growing their businesses and earning more while challenging traditional gender roles.
5. Directing investment towards rural futures
Investing in rural people is an investment in the future. IFAD is taking the lead in ensuring that the world’s poorest rural people access and benefit from finance.
IFAD is working with governments and the private sector to create prosperous economic landscapes and opportunities for rural youth, including the Uganda Yield Fund which helps agricultural small and medium enterprises grow.
Even in a time of climate change and rising food prices, poverty shouldn’t be inevitable. IFAD’s long experience working with the rural poor shows it’s possible to nurture prosperous rural economies that open pathways out of poverty once and for all. It’s time to put all our efforts in to achieve a future without poverty.