International Fund for Agricultural Development

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The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas in developing countries, yet only 4% of official development assistance goes to agriculture.

The strategic policy of IFAD is detailed in Strategic Framework for IFAD 2007-2010: Enabling the Rural Poor to Overcome Poverty. Its headquarters is in Rome.



IFAD's goal is to empower poor rural women and men in developing countries to achieve higher incomes and improved food security.


IFAD will ensure that poor rural people have better access to, and the skills and organization they need to take advantage of:

  • Natural resources, especially secure access to land and water, and improved natural resource management and conservation practices
  • Improved agricultural technologies and effective production services
  • A broad range of financial services
  • Transparent and competitive markets for agricultural inputs and produce
  • Opportunities for rural off-farm employment and enterprise development
  • Local and national policy and programming processes

All of IFAD's decisions - on regional, country and thematic strategies, poverty reduction strategies, policy dialogue and development partners - are made with these principles and objectives in mind. As reflected in the strategic framework, IFAD is committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, in particular the target to halve the proportion of hungry and extremely poor people by 2015.

Underlying these objectives is IFAD’s belief that rural poor people must be empowered to lead their own development if poverty is to be eradicated. Poor people must be able to develop and strengthen their own organizations, so they can advance their own interests and dismantle the obstacles that prevent many of them from creating better lives for themselves. They must be able to have a say in the decisions and policies that affect their lives, and they need to strengthen their bargaining power in the marketplace.

Working in partnership to eradicate rural poverty

Through loans and grants, IFAD works with governments to develop and finance programmes and projects that enable rural poor people to overcome poverty themselves.

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