UN meeting ends with call for increased agricultural investment for rural poor

15 February 2008

The annual meeting of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has wrapped up with participants issuing a call for stepped-up investment to help poor rural farmers.

At the two-day IFAD Governing Council meeting in Rome, delegates from the agency’s 164 Member States recognized the impact of climate change and soaring food prices on poverty-stricken smallholders in developing countries.

Attendees suggested measures to ease the burden on the rural poor, including reducing transportation costs, establishing safety nets for those who purchase more food than they grow and increasing productivity through research and micro-credit programmes.

“The major donor countries have not yet fully realized that the root cause of many social ills – youth unemployment, migration, urban slums and immigration, stem from the lack of investment in rural space,” IFAD President Lennart Båge told reporters.

He appealed for more fund to support agriculture, since the vast majority of the world’s poorest reside in rural areas. Currently, only 3 per cent of all international aid is directed towards farming.

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