Striking at the roots of poverty and hunger
IFAD-financed programmes and projects help people escape poverty and build better lives.
While our work is making a difference every day, we focus on sustainable benefits that persist through the medium and long term, to effect a real transformation of rural communities. We offer financing, tools, knowledge and hope.
Browse some of our main areas of work below.
Climate and environment
Smallholder farmers and poor rural people bear the brunt of climate change and the degradation of natural resources. Extreme weather events, such as droughts, storms and floods, are putting pressure on the ecosystems that farmers depend on.
Smallholder farmers are the main producers of food globally and provide 60 to 80 per cent of the food produced in developing countries. As the world’s population grows, these farmers are under growing pressure to enhance their productivity.
Fisheries and aquaculture
Fisheries and aquaculture support the livelihoods of nearly half a billion people across the world. Yet many of the world’s fisheries are at grave risk from human pressure including overexploitation, pollution and habitat change.
Women are major contributors to agriculture and rural economies, but face numerous challenges that men do not. They have less access to resources and services, including land, finance, training, inputs and equipment. In addition to their agricultural work, they are overburdened with domestic chores and caring tasks.
There are more than 370 million self-identified indigenous people in some 70 countries around the world. But, far too often, they continue to face discrimination and their voices continue to go unheard.
Institutions and organizations
Poor rural people rarely control the conditions that determine their livelihoods. Geographically dispersed in remote rural areas, small producers lack the basic infrastructure — banks, roads, power supplies and Internet connectivity — needed to run a business.
Competition for land has never been greater. The world faces rising population numbers, rapid urbanization, climate change, declining soil fertility and an increasing demand for food and fuel security. All of this puts pressure on land.
Livestock and rangeland
Livestock contribute to the farming operations of more than 800 million poor smallholders. Rural households can improve their livelihoods by raising a wide variety of animals: cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, camels, llamas, alpacas, horses, donkeys, rabbits and even bees.
Worldwide, approximately three billion people have poor-quality diets and more than two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Nearly 25 per cent of children under the age of five are chronically undernourished.
Small family farms make up 85 per cent of all farms worldwide, and the people who live on them constitute the majority of the rural poor. To mitigate the challenges that come with working in isolation − and to increase profitability and productivity − these smallholders form organizations.
The vast majority of rural people do not have reliable, secure ways to save money, protect and build assets, or transfer funds. This is particularly true for vulnerable groups, such as women, youth, and displaced people.
Water stress is the risk with the most potential impact on the livelihoods of poor rural communities. More than a billion people live in water-scarce regions, and as many as 3.5 billion could face water scarcity by 2025. Growing populations, expanding cities, climate change and unsustainable resource management all increase water stress on rural communities.
Our world is home to 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and the youth population is growing fastest in the poorest nations. Governments around the world face the challenge of providing young people with jobs and opportunities that safeguard their futures.