By JIMOH BABATUNDE, with agency reports
… As Nigeria pledges $15m for IFAD
President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze, has disclosed that working in partnership is the best way to achieve food security and eradicate poverty in an “ever changing world” faced with financial instability, volatile food prices and climate change.
Speaking during the 36th Governing Council of the body recently, he said more partnership means more impact, “IFAD is determined to work with its partners to make the most of agriculture’s poverty-fighting powers.”
Highlighting the increase of domestic contributions to IFAD programmes and projects, which have been consistently higher than the amount generated by external co-financing, Nwanze said that it signals developing countries’ commitment to rural development.
He added that its importance as “experience shows that development is most effective when it is self-driven.”
Citing the specific challenge of expanding rural development in the face of climate change, Nwanze highlighted the need for action now. “How we respond to today’s challenges will determine not only the shape of food systems in the near future, but also the health of ecosystems and the distribution of the world’s population,” he said.
Nwanze emphasized that the Fund is already playing a critical role in helping smallholders adapt to a changing climate and safeguard the natural resource base through its innovative Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme.
He underscored the need to create opportunities for young people who, “without prospects, have nothing to lose and are more easily swayed by extreme rhetoric.” Nwanze also stressed the importance of women, who shoulder a heavy workload in rural areas. IFAD has long recognized that there will be no substantial progress in poverty reduction unless there is greater investment in women, who are one half of humanity.
Just after the opening session, the Governing Council, the highest decision making body of IFAD, appointed Nwanze by acclamation to a second term to continue to lead the rural poverty agency for another four years.
Nwanze, under whose leadership IFAD has increased its presence in the countries where it works, said the Fund will create the conditions to enable 80 million people to escape poverty, and will bolster its work with additional country presence.