Open hands holding pulses and seeds.

IFAD works with rural and indigenous communities that hold valuable knowledge of species that are adapted to local environments and contribute to providing more diverse and nutritious diets.

woman selling hand-woven baskets

We celebrate the sacrifice of migrant workers, who support their families and communities of origin through the money they send back home, particularly in these times of crisis. Over 200 million migrants defied predictions and continued to send money to their countries of origin throughout the pandemic.

A small bay

In this month’s episode, IFAD celebrates World Environment Day through developments protecting the environment; Africa Climate Week and innovations from East and Southern Africa; and the International Day of Family Remittances, a day celebrating a vital source of funding for people living in rural communities in the developing world.

Other features include a new report on nature-based solutions in agriculture, the environment as inspiration for a UN Human Rights Champion, the changes to environmental policies in Afghanistan and organic farming in China, and a new group called Chefs 4 the Planet.

A group of people walk through a frosty mountain landscape.

IFAD has invested US$1.6 million to work with community groups as they restore and conserve nearly 15,000 hectares of native forest, grasslands, and high Andean wetland habitats. Their actions will include reforestation with native species, fencing and sustainable use of grasslands, and installation of barriers throughout the wetlands. Through Compensation for Ecosystem Services systems, downstream users of ecosystem services remunerate the upstream rural populations who maintain them.

Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of malnutrition in the world where over 50 per cent of children under five are stunted. Many children do not get enough nutritious food, and often came to school hungry. IFAD teamed up with WFP and FAO to set up a food chain that enables local farmers to provide fruit and vegetables for school meals.

hands holding cocoa beans

Coffee and chocolate can do much more than give us a boost of energy in the morning. For the last seven years, the NICADAPTA project, financed by IFAD, has improved the incomes and quality of life of more than 45,000 families in Nicaragua through the sustainable development of coffee and cocoa production. NICADAPTA works closely with producer cooperatives and their members, many of them women and youth, to help them access lucrative coffee and cocoa markets and increase their resilience to climate change. 

Masai man herding a flock of Red Maasai sheep.

The Maasai of Kenya and the Red Maasai sheep slow food presidium

woman planting seedlings

Advancing equitable livelihoods requires building the agency of the underrepresented: those who lack the space or the enabling environment in which to exercise their power and rights. It implies protecting and strengthening their capacities, along with the knowledge, resilience and innovation that they possess. The UN Food System Summit’s Action Tracks offer a space to share and learn, with a view to fostering new actions and partnerships and amplifying existing initiatives. Each of the five Action Tracks is aligned with one of the Summit’s five objectives. 

An olive hangs from an olive branch.

Growing olive trees in Jordan, one of the driest countries in the world, isn’t easy. IFAD’s work in Jordan focuses on increasing the agriculture sector’s contribution to national GDP by creating jobs. This empowers rural people – especially women and youth – to turn their farming into sustainable, profitable small businesses. Local programmes help small-scale farmers become more resilient to the effects of climate change and other risks to their production, as well as on facilitating access to financial services and markets.

rural woman with cell phone

Access to accurate and timely information is crucial for farmers all around the world, and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many farmers rely on digital services, especially those delivered through platforms accessible via mobile phones, to access this information. But for many small-scale farmers in rural and remote areas, this kind of access remains a challenge. Last spring the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) created a mobile phone–based information service as a way to respond to the crisis and keep farmers better informed.

woman holding plant

Like other women on Santiago, the largest island of Cabo Verde, Maria Lizita Varela used to rely on sand extraction as a source of income. It was thankless, dangerous work. The negative environmental impact of sand extraction is palpable, too. Now, an IFAD-funded project on the islands of Santiago and Maio is offering women opportunities for better incomes through safer and less time-consuming activities. 

African woman in a corn field holding corns in her hands.

Donors are responding favourably to IFAD’s call to significantly increase contributions to deliver an overall programme of work of at least US$11 billion from 2022 to 2024.

A man and a woman in traditional dress stand at the foot of the Andes.

Indigenous Peoples have suffered disproportionately from the economic impacts of COVID-19, yet they hold essential knowledge for rebuilding a more sustainable and resilient post-pandemic world, free of poverty and hunger, said IFAD President, at the Fifth global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum. This biennial meeting held virtually this year, focuses on the value of indigenous food system resilience in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted by IFAD, it brings together 154 indigenous leaders from 57 countries, as well as development organizations and governments.

man standing in field

We have tripled food production in the last 40 years. But we know unless we change the way we produce food, we will not only lose those gains, we will pay a terrible price. Covid-19 has made it devastatingly clear that our health and the planet’s health are indivisible; that unless we halt biodiversity loss and repair our relationship with the natural world, more diseases will jump species. It is estimated that three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people in the past 10 years are zoonotic. IFAD is working to help get policy and investment behind more productive, profitable, and sustainable land-use around the world, and directly supporting smallholder farmers to make the shift.

A man balances two baskets full of cabbages on his back.

2020 has been a tumultuous year. This year, the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to rise for the first time in two decades. This makes recovery from the pandemic even more precarious. As we reflect on the year, let’s look at how IFAD and rural communities responded to the COVID-19 crisis and what we’ve learned for the coming year. For example, the impacts of COVID-19 have shown us that, in times of crisis, resilience at the local level is essential for survival. It is increasingly clear that rural development solutions have to be nature-friendly.