"If We Abandon Smallholder Farmers, We Abandon Our Future,” IFAD President to Tell G20 Ministers

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With around 795 million hungry people in the world, and an additional 60 million needing food aid in the wake of droughts and crop failures caused by El Niño, agricultural ministers from the G20 countries meeting in China this week have an enormous challenge ahead of them, says the president of the UN agency dedicated to assisting smallholder farmers.

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With around 795 million hungry people in the world, and an additional 60 million needing food aid in the wake of droughts and crop failures caused by El Niño, agricultural ministers from the G20 countries meeting in China this week have an enormous challenge ahead of them, says the president of the UN agency dedicated to assisting smallholder farmers.

“This G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting could not be more timely,” said Kanayo Nwanze, president of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on the eve of his departure for China. “It is more urgent than ever to invest in smallholder farmers to make them more resilient to the shocks that cause crop failures. They are the backbone of our food systems. If we abandon smallholder farmers, we abandon our future.”

More than three billion people – close to half the world’s population - live in rural areas and most depend on farming for their sustenance and income.

The theme of this year’s Agricultural Ministers Meeting is “Innovation, Cooperation and Sustainable Agricultural Investment” and the ministers will discuss how to work together to promote food security, nutrition, sustainable agricultural growth, and rural development across the world.

This is the first G20 Agricultural Ministers Meeting since world leaders agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which outline ambitious targets to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.
“The SDGs are an opportunity to put the world on a more sustainable path, and we can only achieve them by investing in smallholder farmers and the rural areas in which they live,” said Nwanze. “This meeting shows that G20 countries are dedicating attention to agriculture and the issues faced by the people who grow our food, which is already a step in the right direction.”

The Agricultural Ministers Meeting takes place on 3 June in Xi’an. On 2 June, Nwanze will open the first ever G20 Agricultural Entrepreneurs Forum, which aims to create a conducive business environment for G20 agricultural investments.

While in China, Nwanze will also meet China’s Minister of Agriculture, Han Changfu, and Vice Minister of Finance, Shi Yaobin.

Press release No.: IFAD/35/2016
IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$17.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 459 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

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