By Vision Reporter
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,” he said.
“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.
Uganda is one of the developing countries where 67% of the population is said to be vulnerable to poverty with about a third of that number living under poverty line. The 2012 expenditure review said that 92% of the poor live in rural areas and overall 89% of the country’s estimated 36m people are classified as rural.
The country’s mainstay is agriculture, but most of the farmers are subsistence farmers, whose livelihoods are threatened by the changing climate and lack of assistance to mitigate increasing loss of soil fertility and droughts.
In his statement, Abdullah Jummah Al-Shibli, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) underscored that farming families are important for socio-economic development and stability.
Women have a particular role to play in food security and through their empowerment, poverty can be eradicated, he emphasized
IFAD President, Kanayo Nwanze, welcomed farmers’ representatives and delegates from IFAD’s 173 Member States, including its newest member, the Russian Federation, which announced its commitment to support the replenishment of IFAD’s resources.
In his speech, Nwanze stated that today agriculture has an unprecedented potential to drive economic development and inclusive growth.