IFAD is an international financial institution and specialized United Nations agency based in Rome, the UN’s food and agriculture hub. Since 1978, we have provided US$18.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 464 million people.
At the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) we invest in rural people, empowering them to increase their food security, improve the nutrition of their families and increase their incomes. We help them build resilience, expand their businesses and take charge of their own development.
Why rural people?
The starting point for a world without poverty and hunger, is the rural world. An estimated 3 billion people – around 40 per cent of the global population – live in the rural areas of developing countries.
Most depend on small, family farms for their income and sustenance. Rural people grow the food that feeds their nations, but they are also disproportionately poor: 80 per cent of the women, children and men living in extreme poverty live in rural areas, not cities.
Investing in rural people is a long-term solution to so many of the problems we face today. Hunger, poverty, youth unemployment and forced migration – all have deep roots in rural areas; and all can be vastly improved through investing in small-scale agriculture and inclusive rural development.
In sub-Saharan Africa, investment in agriculture is up to 11 times more effective in reducing extreme poverty than investment in any other sector.Because successful small farms provide jobs for unskilled labourers. Small family farms generate income that is spent in rural communities and stimulates rural economies, which in turn contribute to peace and security. And farms grow the food that feeds us all.