International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Investing in rural people

Enabling sustainable rural development

The world faces massive economic, social, and environmental challenges. In today’s globalized world, these problems cannot be solved by individual governments alone.

IFAD’s Strategic Framework 2016-2025 sets out how we will work over the coming decade in order to play a crucial role in the inclusive and sustainable transformation of rural areas. It articulates our contribution to the 2030 Agenda, including the larger role IFAD will play in supporting countries to fulfill their priorities relative to the Agenda.

The framework outlines that we will work in ways that are bigger, better, and smarter: bigger, by mobilizing and leveraging substantially greater investment in rural areas; better, by strengthening the quality of countries’ rural development programs; and smarter, by further sharpening our efficiency and delivering results in a more cost-effective way.

The Framework sets three strategic objectives:

  • increasing the productive capacity of poor rural people
  • increasing their benefits from market participation
  • strengthening the environmental sustainability and climate resilience of their economic activities.

Download our Strategic Framework to see how IFAD’s agenda and investments help support smallholder agriculture development and rural transformation today and in the years ahead.

Investing in rural people

Three-quarters of the poorest people in the world live in the rural areas of developing countries. Most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Climate crisis, a growing global population, and volatile food and energy prices have the potential to push millions more vulnerable people into extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.

At the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) we invest in rural people, empowering them to increase their food security, improve the nutrition of their families and increase their incomes. We help them build resilience, expand their businesses and take charge of their own development.

IFAD is an international financial institution and specialized United Nations agency based in Rome, the UN’s food and agriculture hub. Since 1978, we have provided US$18.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 464 million people.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, we have 39 ongoing projects in 20 countries in 2019. In total, more than $ 1.8 billion are being invested and over 1.04 million people will be directly benefited by the end of the ongoing projects.

The challenge

With a growing global population that will exceed 9 billion by 2050, a widening gap between rich and poor, and growing competition for resources, the major issues facing humanity cannot wait.

IFAD works where poverty and hunger are deepest: in the most remote regions of developing countries and fragile situations, where few development agencies venture.

We’ve developed a cost-effective, people-centered, and partnership-oriented approach that delivers results. Small-scale agriculture is central to our development model, which connects farmers and poor rural women and men to markets and services so they can grow more and earn more.

​ The opportunity

Agriculture is a proven engine for poverty reduction. GDP growth generated by agriculture is more effective in reducing poverty than growth in any other sector. In sub-Saharan Africa, growth in agriculture reduces poverty up to 11 times faster than growth in other sectors.

IFAD-supported projects have shown that − with access to finance, markets, technology, and information − rural people can lift themselves out of poverty.

But our work does more than help rural people grow and earn more. It also promotes gender equality and inclusiveness, builds the capacity of local organizations and communities, and strengthens resilience to the climate crisis.

By advocating for poor rural people and financing projects that transform rural areas, our work is critical to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Website Visit website
Location Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Africa, Antarctica Region, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Europe, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kiribati, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Nicaragua, Northern America, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela
Sectors Sector agnostic
SDG (3)
1. No Poverty, 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal, 2. Zero Hunger