By Panagri Media Reporter, July 4, 2023, Amid a global food crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the acceleration of climate change, Alvaro Lario, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), arrives today in Ireland to advocate for greater investments in the small-scale farmers and food producers in developing countries who generate a third of the world’s food but are often most impacted by hunger and poverty.
“Investing in small-scale farmers is an investment in a more prosperous and stable world. We cannot continue to neglect rural women and men. After years of under-funding, we need to urgently scale-up these investments so that rural people and small-scale farmers can adapt to climate change, increase local food production, and access markets to earn a decent living,” said Lario. “Failure to do so will mean more hunger, more poverty and more conflict and migration.”
“Ireland has relentlessly shown that the fight against hunger and poverty is a critical issue that needs to be prioritised. I look forward to meeting Irish decision-makers to provide an updated brief on the urgent need to invest much more in rural people and in food systems to make them more productive, resilient, inclusive and sustainable,” Lario added.
While small-scale farmers produce up to 70 percent of food in low- and middle-income countries, they are often the first to go to bed hungry. About 80 percent of the world’s poorest people live in the rural areas of developing countries. Official Development Assistance (ODA) to agriculture has been stagnant at 4 to 6 percent for at least two decades. Small-scale farmers receive less than 2 percent of global climate finance, and on average, they earn a mere US$0.06 for every US$1 worth of food they produced.
With targeted investments, small-scale farmers can adapt to climate change, and access the markets, technologies and financial services that will transform their lives. Investing in agriculture is two to three times more effective at reducing poverty than investment in any other sector. Between 2019-2021, IFAD investments raised the incomes of 77.4 million rural people while improving food security for 57 million people.
At the Paris summit on a New Global Financial Pact, 22-23 June, IFAD and French President, Emmanuel Macron, made a call for greater funding from IFAD’s 177 member states in order to mobilize as much as US$10 billion for IFAD’s work in rural areas between 2025-2027.
During his two-day visit, Lario will meet Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland; Sean Fleming, Minister of State for International Development and Diaspora; Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine; as well as the chair and co-chairs of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs – overseeing development matters. President Lario will also deliver a Development Matters lecture focused on reshaping food systems around small-scale producers and engage with leading Irish development non-governmental organizations.
Minister for International Development and Diaspora Sean Fleming T.D. said: “Ireland is proud to partner with IFAD to help lift small-scale farmers and rural communities out of poverty. President Lario’s visit is a great opportunity to discuss the immense global challenges we face related to food, nutrition and climate, and our shared vision for how to respond.”
IFAD and Ireland
Ireland is a founding member of IFAD and shares its commitment to invest in rural people so that they can overcome poverty and hunger themselves. Ireland’s strong interest in food and nutrition security and sustainable food systems is closely aligned with IFAD’s mandate.
Ireland has pledged a total of US$63.6 million to the Fund’s regular resources since it was established in 1977. In addition, Ireland has provided over US$15 million in supplementary funds, in particular to support IFAD’s work on small-scale farmers’ climate adaptation.