The UN agricultural development fund has been asked to focus more on promoting small holder farmers to reduce poverty. The call was made during the 37th session of the Governing Counsel of IFAD in Rome.
Fabrizio Saccomanni, the Italian minister for economy and finance, asserted that ensuring small holder family farmers have adequate access to credit and investment is of paramount importance for poverty reduction.
Speaking to international policy-makers, farmer leaders and private sector representatives, Saccomanni said that while some progress had been made, much remains to be done to eliminate hunger and poverty.
“The challenges ahead require a radical increase in agricultural productivity, but this has to be pursued in a sustainable way.
“Supporting smallholder agriculture is the way-out, as evidence and research show; it breaks the vicious cycle of poverty while preserving scarce natural resources.”
IFAD is a specialised UN agency and international financial institution that provides investment funding aimed at creating a route out of poverty for rural people in developing countries, most of which are involved in Agriculture.
In developing countries, 67 per cent of the population is said to be vulnerable to poverty, with about a third of that number living under poverty line.
In Rwanda, agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, but most of the farmers engage in subsistence farming, whose livelihoods are threatened by the changing climate and lack of assistance to mitigate increasing loss of soil fertility and droughts.
The conference noted that farming families are important for socio-economic development and stability. It emphasised the important role women play in food security, saying that through their empowerment, poverty can be eradicated.
IFAD President, Kanayo Nwanze, noted that agriculture has an unprecedented potential to drive economic development and inclusive growth.