IFAD Says Decline In Agriculture Investment Threatening SDG Targets

 

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Yemisi Izuora

The International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, has expressed deep concern that despite the need for increased support to sustainable agricultural development to achieve, Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs 1 which aims to end poverty and SDG 2 targeting zero hunger, investments in agriculture have been on the decline. To reverse this trend, the IFAD, has therefore launched an innovative campaign to raise awareness of the need to reverse this trend.

The recent publication of the 2017 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report, has alerted the global community of the danger of a trend reversal in combating hunger as 2016 saw the first increase in the number of hungry people in a decade.

To raise awareness of the role that investments play in reducing hunger and poverty, IFAD and a group of farmers from Kasama, Zambia, prepared a giant ‘Field Report,’ carving the case for increased investments into the very soil that is the foundation for reducing poverty and hunger in Africa.

The farmers tilled a series of graphs into a field that shows the importance of increasing investments in smallholder agriculture. The graphs visualized that despite being home to one quarter of the world’s arable land, Sub-Saharan Africa produces only 10 per cent of global agricultural output and observed that rural poverty is the key driver for increasing migration towards urban centers.

It also warned that world population will increase by 2 billion people to 9 billion in 2030 driving additional demand for food and that agricultural development is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa than development of any other sector.

The report declared that only inclusive rural transformation can lift people out of poverty, revitalize isolated communities, offer opportunities to all and slow the flight of economic migrants to cities and countries further afield.

IFAD has prepared an interactive multimedia website that provides additional information, narratives and personal accounts from farmers to underline these facts. Among other issues, the Field Report outlines how IFAD’s initiatives, such as the Smallholder Productivity Promotion Programme, contribute to agricultural growth and improved livelihoods. It also references a recent joint report published by IFAD and the World Bank that outlines how investments in rural development create job opportunities for rural youth to prevent migration to urban centers.

The report notes that, while in many countries the current acute risk of famine is conflict, there are hundreds of thousands of people suffering from food insecurity due to poverty and inequality. It concludes that “only inclusive rural transformation can lift people out of poverty, revitalize isolated communities, offer opportunities to all and slow the flight of economic migrants to cities and countries further afield

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