IFAD President visit to China reinforces longstanding partnership to transform rural lives

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By Panagri Media Reporter, June 13, 2023, Alvaro Lario, President of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) met key officials and partners, including Vice Minister of Finance Wang Dongwei and Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Ma Youxiang, on a visit to China from 3-8 June to deepen the successful partnership between the People’s Republic of China and IFAD in securing decent lives and livelihoods for small-scale farmers.


The visit built on more than 40 years of mutual support and investment. Since 1981, more than 20 million poor, remote and disadvantaged rural people have benefitted from IFAD’s partnership with China. IFAD will continue to support the government in promoting rural revitalization and ensuring that smallholders in poor and marginalized areas are not left behind in the process of rural transformation and agriculture modernization, as well as supporting climate-resilient agriculture.


“China is a longstanding partner in our efforts to address hunger and poverty, empower rural women, and build resilience to climate change,” said Lario. “There is a lot to learn from China’s impressive achievements in rural development and poverty alleviation. We will continue to partner with China in its rural revitalization efforts, particularly in transforming the food system, linking agriculture to tourism, climate adaptation, biodiversity preservation, and in green and sustainable development of rural areas” he added.


IFAD has worked closely with China to identify, promote, validate and scale-up viable agriculture innovations through a dedicated South-South and Triangular Cooperation facility, which was established in 2018. As of May 2023, 16 grant projects focussing on poverty reduction, fighting malnutrition and promoting rural youth employment have been approved.


President Lario also met partners from key in-country development partners and financing institutions, including Luo Zhaohui, chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency; Zhang Wencai, vice president of the China Exim Bank; and Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to explore areas of mutual cooperation in supporting small-scale producers, building on China’s advantages in rural development and IFAD’s expertise in agricultural market and value chains development.


The delegation also visited cooperatives that had benefitted from the IFAD-supported project, the Dabieshan Area Poverty Reduction Programme in Xinyang, Henan province, which closed in 2015. Nearly a decade later, the value of investing in rural people – and the sustainability of IFAD’s investment – was clear. The Lingshan Tea Cooperative and the Youdian Aquaculture Cooperative have both scaled up with private sector investment and are exploring new ways of marketing their products through TikTok livestreams and other online stores. Eco-tourism initiatives are also providing an alternative means of income, while benefitting the environment. While in Henan, the president also met Wang Kai, governor of the province. Agriculture and rural development are important to Henan, particularly given that it accounts for the second-highest acreage of agricultural land nationally, and it is home to almost 100 million people.


Since 1981, when IFAD became the first international financial institution to invest in China, IFAD has financed 33 projects for a total investment of US $2.98 billion, with US $1.14 billion of IFAD’s own funds, benefitting around 4.6 million households. Read more about IFAD’s work in China here.

Tags: #Alvaro Lario, #Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, #China Exim Bank, #Jin Liqun, #Lingshan Tea Cooperative, #Luo Zhaohui, #oudian Aquaculture Cooperative, IFAD, International Fund for Agricultural Development

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