Rome/New Delhi, 04 April 2022 – India has strengthened its commitment to fight hunger and poverty in rural areas by agreeing to loan US$20 million to the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). This financial agreement will help to ensure that food systems support remunerative, sustainable and resilient livelihoods for millions of small-scale farmers and producers in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Last year’s UN Food Systems Summit, held in September, highlighted the fragility of current global food systems. Food systems, which include all aspects of feeding and nourishing people (growing, harvesting, packaging, processing, transporting, marketing and consuming food), are not fulfilling the right to safe and adequate food for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated hunger and food insecurity, particularly among rural marginalized groups, including women and youth.
IFAD’s investments are designed to improve the livelihoods of rural small-scale producers and people, build their resilience and help them adapt to all crises, from health shocks to extreme weather events and climate change.
“India’s contribution to IFAD is incredibly timely. It demonstrates the strong level of ownership and support of an important member such as India, and shows trust in the work we do,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD. “IFAD and the Government of India are very much aligned to the commitment of ensuring rural prosperity, and to investing in tackling hunger and poverty in the face of critical challenges.”
India also offers its rich development experience and proven pro-poor innovations that enhance the quality of IFAD’s operations and institutional knowledge, thereby also benefiting IFAD’s other members.
The loan from the Government of India will be used by IFAD to help finance its programme of loans and grants, which is expected to total up to $3.5 billion in 2022-2024.
This will help approximately 140 million rural people increase their production and raise their incomes through better market access and rural financial services. It will also increase climate resilience and contribute to creating employment and improved food security and nutrition for the world’s most vulnerable people.
India is one of the largest recipients of IFAD’s investments and a significant contributor in terms of both financial support and corporate policy engagement as a member of IFAD’s Executive Board. India’s cumulative contributions to IFAD’s regular resources amount to over $260 million. This includes the most recent contribution of $47 million to IFAD12.
IFAD is an international financial institution and specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. It is focused on transforming agriculture, rural economies and food systems by making them more inclusive, productive and sustainable. Eight out of 10 of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas, and most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Adaptation to climate change is of critical importance for small-scale farmers who provide a third of the world’s food.
India is a founding member of IFAD, and IFAD has worked in India for more than 40 years. The current country strategic opportunities programme is fully aligned with the government’s policy framework and efforts to ensure that smallholder food and agricultural production systems are remunerative, sustainable and resilient to climate change and price shocks. To date, IFAD has supported 32 rural development projects in India worth $1.2 billion. These interventions have directly benefitted 6,341,436 families.