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Overview

The Asia and the Pacific region is a rural development paradox: it is has seen some of the most dramatic economic transformations, but bears some of the most enduring challenges.

Vast and densely populated, the region remains home to two thirds of the world’s poorest people. As income inequality widens, poverty is becoming a more rural and acute phenomenon.

Social deprivation and high rates of malnutrition and stunting are reducing the physical and mental capacity of vulnerable groups across the region, at a significant human and economic cost. Across the region, 30 per cent of children under five are stunted.

Vulnerability to climate change, natural disasters and a gradual degradation of the productive resource base are growing problems. In some cases, climate change is already posing an existential threat, with a number of Pacific islands severely threatened by rising sea levels.

Inequality between urban and rural areas

Small farm businesses across the region are struggling in the face of rural-urban migration, land and water degradation, and economic, institutional and political constraints.

Much of the region lacks the basic infrastructure to ensuring integration with the global economy through efficient market linkages. Such integration is vital for strengthening intra- and interregional trade through emerging common markets such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

These are all formidable challenges which the region must overcome to continue to be a powerful engine for global prosperity and growth.

Partnering against poverty

IFAD is empowering smallholders through its loan and grant programmes, policy engagement, and pro-poor partnerships across the policy spectrum, working with local people, governments, donors and the private sector.

By the end of 2016, IFAD had invested US$2.4 billion in the region’s ongoing portfolio for 67 projects in 21 countries.

IFAD is especially active where problems are most acute. We work in Pacific island nations such as Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, where ongoing projects are combating the impact of climate change, and supporting community-led development processes.

In the fight against climate change and the struggle for the enhancement of rural productivity, prosperity and quality of life, collaboration is key.

FACTS

China and India are the world’s most populous nations, together accounting for some 37 per cent of the global population in 2015.

Across the Asia and Pacific region, 560 million people live on less than $1.25 a day, with about 260 million of those people living in India.

In spite of rapid urbanization, more than half of the population in the region still lives in rural areas, and most are engaged in agriculture.



Spotlight

Boosting nutrition one TV show at a time in Laos

In rural communities in northern Laos, an IFAD supported programme is using a television soap opera to help tackle extreme poverty and malnutrition.

Project and Programmes

Myanmar

Fostering Agricultural Revitalization in Myanmar Project
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Pakistan

Livestock and Access to Markets Project
Read More

Indonesia

South Sumatera Smallholder Tree Crops Development Project
Read More

Related news

Cambodia and IFAD to discuss strategy to improve rural livelihoods in the country

January 2018 - NEWS
Media are invited to attend a national workshop that will present results of an independent evaluation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s rural development work in Cambodia.

IFAD President travels to India to further partnership and shared commitment to reducing rural poverty

December 2017 - NEWS
Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), arrives in India today to meet with key government partners. The trip presents an opportunity to expand upon the focus and partnership between India and IFAD to boost smallholder farmer incomes and alleviate rural poverty in the country.

International delegation looks at impact of development projects on living conditions and livelihoods in rural Bangladesh

November 2017 - NEWS
A delegation of member state representatives from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) begins a five-day working trip to Bangladesh today, with planned visits to IFAD-funded projects designed to increase incomes and improve living conditions for rural poor in the country.

Related publications

Research Series Issue 20 - Transformation and Diversification of the Rural Economy in Asia

January 2018
This paper examines the transformation and diversification of the rural economy in Asia, focusing on the role and importance of the rural non-farm economy and employment in economic transformation and related diversification of employment and income opportunities for rural communities.
LANGUAGES: English

IFAD in the Philippines`Cordilleras

December 2017
Sowing the seeds of success for farmers and microentrepreneurs.
LANGUAGES: English

Public-private-producer partnerships (4Ps) in small ruminant value chain development in India

September 2015
In August 2015, a grant agreement was signed between IFAD and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “demonstrate that the goat subsector in India has a great potential to contribute to poverty alleviation and offers opportunities where donors can partner with private sector, public sector, and producers to effect large-scale productivity improvement in small ruminant value chains in Bihar, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh states”.
LANGUAGES: English

Events

13 FEB

41st session of the Governing Council

13 February 2018 - 14 February 2018

Contact us

For more information about IFAD's work in Asia and the Pacific, please contact Nigel M. Brett, Lead Portfolio Advisor, at n.brett@ifad.org.