IFAD plans $500m fund for small farmers

Published January 24, 2021
Climate aid to millions of small farmers around the world must  “substantially increase” to ward off hunger and instability, a United Nations body warned. — APP/File
Climate aid to millions of small farmers around the world must “substantially increase” to ward off hunger and instability, a United Nations body warned. — APP/File

PARIS: Climate aid to millions of small farmers around the world must “substantially increase” to ward off hunger and instability, a United Nations body warned on Saturday.

Small farmers “do little to cause climate change, but suffer the most from its impacts,” Gilbert F. Hou­n­gbo, President of the Inter­national Fund for Agri­cul­tural Development (IFAD) said in a statement.

“If investments... do not substantially increase, we risk widespread hunger and global instability,” IFAD added.

Houngbo said small farmers’ “increasingly common crop failures and livestock deaths put our entire food system at risk”, warning that “hunger, poverty and migration will become even more widespread” without increased aid.

The UN body’s warning comes ahead of a climate adaptation summit on Jan 25 and 26 in the Netherlands.

At the gathering, IFAD plans to launch a new $500m fund dubbed ASAP+ “to re­­duce climate change threats to food security, lower greenhouse gases and help more than 10 million people adapt to weather changes”.

Austria, Germany, Ire­land and Qatar have already said they will contribute.

British actor Idris Elba and his wife Sandrine, both IFAD “Goodwill Ambas­sadors”, will take part in a debate at the summit with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo.

IFAD-funded research forecasts a potential fall in production of staples like beans, maize, and cassava of between 50 and 90pc by 2050 across much of sub-Saharan Africa due to climate change, “which would result in substantial in­­crea­ses in hunger and poverty”.

“Climate change could push more than 140 million people to migrate” over the same period, the studies found.

IFAD’s earlier ASAP programme has already distributed $300m to more than five million farmers in 41 countries. But the body notes that only 1.7pc of global climate finance goes to small-scale farmers in developing countries.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2021

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