Agriculture key to growing economies out of recession – UN agency head

20 April 2009 – Investment in smallholder agriculture must top industrialized countries’ agendas to grow the world economy out of recession, the head of the United Nations’ rural funding arm said today at the conclusion of the first ever G8 Agricultural Ministers’ Meeting.

“Protecting and increasing the access of poor rural people to financial services is even more vital now as the global financial crisis bites and remittances shrink,” Kanayo Nwanze President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said at the meeting in Treviso, Italy.

Mr. Nwanze urged the ministers of the developing countries that attended, along with officials from the European Union, to quickly make the enhanced support for agriculture called for by the meeting’s outcome document a reality.

“The well-being of 2 billion poor people who depend on smallholder farms in developing countries hinges on it,” he stressed.

“That is why we are encouraging ministers to return home and make sure that in all countries, rich and poor, we work together to keep agriculture at the top of their national agendas from now to the G8 Summit in La Maddalena and well beyond,” he said.

The G8 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting ran from 18 to 20 April.

The ministers’ meeting, which ran from 18 to 20 April, also heard from David Nabarro, Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the UN System High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis,

Dr. Nabarro said that “urgent and concerted action is needed now to prevent the hunger crisis from deepening.”

He outlined elements of a two-track response that includes investing in food assistance and social safety nets for those most in need, as well as scaling up investment in agriculture in developing countries.


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