IFAD and ITALY
A partnership to
eradicate rural poverty
Enabling the rural poor to overcome poverty
Three quarters of the
world’s 1.1 billion
in rural areas and
related activities to
survive. Investing in
agriculture and rural
only boosts the
standard of living
for poor rural
and men, but spurs
for entire regions.
IFAD enables poor rural people
to overcome poverty
The International Fund for Agricultural
Development (IFAD) is the specialized
agency of the United Nations dedicated to
eradicating rural poverty in developing
countries. Working with poor rural people,
governments, donors, NGOs and many other
partners, IFAD empowers communities to
lead their own development.
By focusing on country-specific solutions,
IFAD increases poor rural people’s access to
natural resources, agricultural technologies,
financial services, competitive markets,
opportunities for enterprise, and local and
national policy and programming processes.
IFAD tackles poverty not only as a
lender but also as an advocate for poor
rural people. Its multilateral base provides
a global platform to discuss important
policy issues and draw attention to the
centrality of rural development in meeting
the Millennium Development Goals.
Since starting operations in 1978,
IFAD has invested US$9.2 billion in
716 programmes and projects that have
helped more than 300 million poor rural
women and men achieve better lives for
themselves and their families. Governments
and other financing sources in recipient
countries, including project participants,
have contributed almost US$8.9 billion.
Multilateral, bilateral and other donors
have provided another US$7.0 billion
ITALY supports multilateral
investment to fight poverty
As one of the 191 countries that adopted
the Millennium Declaration in 2000, and a
strong supporter of the 2002 Monterrey
Consensus, the Government of Italy is
committed to mobilizing and increasing
the effective use of financial resources to
achieve the Millennium Development
Food security and rural poverty
reduction are priorities of Italian
development cooperation. Italy’s strong
commitment to these goals stems from its
own agricultural tradition and the support
it has historically given to developing its
Italy has also made harmonization a
key facet of its development cooperation
policy. In the 2003 Rome Declaration,
Italy highlighted the important role of
harmonization in enhancing aid
Through its contributions to
international entities, including the United
Nations and the European Union, the
multilateral component of Italian Official
Development Assistance (ODA) accounts
for about two thirds of its overall assistance
– making Italy one of the top 10 donor
countries to the United Nations system.
WORKING TOGETHER to achieve the Millennium
Development Goal of halving the proportion of people living in extreme
poverty and hunger by 2015
As the host country to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food
Programme (WFP) and IFAD, Italy supports the three UN food organizations that have
different but complementary mandates and work together to achieve the MDG target of
halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. This role is
a reflection of Italy’s commitment to the multilateral approach to poverty alleviation.
Italy has been a contributing Member State of IFAD since the agency was established in
1977. Since then, Italy and IFAD have combined resources, skills and experiences to improve
the lives of poor rural people throughout the developing world.
Italy is one of IFAD’s
Among IFAD’s 165 Member States, Italy is the eighth largest financial contributor to
the agency. In the most recent replenishment of IFAD’s resources, Italy was the second
largest contributor, following the United States of America. Italy’s contribution, along
with that of other donors, will enable IFAD to carry out approximately 230 projects
during the 2007-2009 replenishment period.
Under the debt-for-development
swap agreement, signed by the
Government of Italy and the
Government of the Arab
Republic of Egypt in 2001,
an IFAD loan of US$18.5 million
is complemented by
US$30.13 million in cofinancing
from the Egyptian counterpart
fund to finance the West
Noubaria Rural Development
Transforming debt into development power
Debt relief for developing countries frees up resources that can be spent on poverty
reduction. A “debt swap” relieves a government’s foreign debt burden in exchange for
its commitment to spend a certain amount of its local currency on development. Italy
promotes FAO, IFAD and WFP’s access to funds that are made available by swapping
Italian credits with developing countries, thereby generating resources for additional
development projects. Moreover, Italy is an important political and financial
supporter of IFAD’s Debt Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Trust Fund,
having contributed more than US$4 million to the fund.
Combating land degradation and desertification
Italy was an important contributor to IFAD’s Special Programme for Africa,
established in 1985. The programme worked to mitigate the impact of drought on
smallholder farmers and reverse the process of land degradation and desertification
on the continent.
Italy’s contribution to the replenishment of IFAD’s resources (US$)
Replenishment Amount pledged* Amount paid*
IFAD II / SPA 1
IFAD III / SPA 2
IFAD V / HIPC DI 3
Total 305,389,102 227,716,435
* All replenishment-related contributions are converted into US$ using the historical exchange rate as set out in
each Replenishment Resolution.
1 Comprehensive of US$33,254,904 Special Programme for Africa (SPA - phase I)
2 Comprehensive of US$6,785,000 Special Programme for Africa (SPA - phase II)
3 Comprehensive of US$4,062,198 complementary contribution to IFAD's Debt Initiative for Heavily Indebted
Poor Countries Trust Fund
Italy’s voluntary contributions
support IFAD programmes
In addition to their regular replenishment contributions, some IFAD Member States
provide voluntary and extra-budgetary contributions. Since 1994, Italy has
contributed US$37.4 million in voluntary and extra-budgetary contributions to IFAD.
Reflecting Italy’s geographic and thematic priorities, IFAD leverages these funds to
cofinance and complement its programmes and projects as well as to finance pilot
activities that are not included in IFAD’s lending programme. IFAD has invested these
funds in 156 programmes and projects, boosting the power of IFAD’s loans and
grants. On average, IFAD mobilizes one dollar for each dollar Italy contributes in
In most developing countries,
the main obstacle to starting
and sustaining a business is
limited access to financial
services. In 2005, the Italian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
provided seed capital to
launch the Facility to Support
Rural Finance (RURALFIN).
The programme promotes
vibrant financial sectors that
provide a range of services,
Establishing a partnership agreement
In November 2001, Italy and IFAD signed a five-year partnership agreement that provided
a legal and strategic framework for their collaboration, including the use of voluntary
contributions. Under the agreement, Italy has contributed on average US$5.3 million in
voluntary and extra-budgetary contributions each year to support IFAD programmes and
projects in selected geographic and thematic areas.
The agreement has enhanced a broad partnership with members of Italian civil society.
Italian non-governmental organizations, farmers’ organizations, specialized banks,
agribusinesses, universities and research centres have contributed to IFAD-supported
operations by providing invaluable expertise and innovative approaches to rural
development. In particular, Italian expertise has played a key role in empowering farmers’
organizations and promoting new approaches to the sustainable development of
agribusiness activities, pro-poor ecotourism and rural finance.
While providing assistance to Asia, the Balkans and Latin America, Italy and IFAD’s
joint effort has increased its geographical focus on sub-Saharan Africa, particularly since
the G8 meeting in Gleneagles in 2005.
Empowering farmers through policy dialogue
Governments in low-income countries prepare poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs)
that outline the macroeconomic, structural and social policies and programmes a
country will pursue to reduce poverty and promote broad-based growth. Italy has
voluntarily contributed US$1.35 million to IFAD to help ensure that poor rural people
in Africa, Asia and Latin America are able to participate in PRSP design processes so that
their needs and interests are being properly addressed.
Italy also contributed US$1.2 million to help finance an IFAD-supported capacitybuilding
programme for farmers’ organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition,
Italian support made possible the 2006 launch of the Farmers’ Forum, an IFAD initiative
that brings small farmers and rural producers’ organizations together to consult with
IFAD staff and government officials. As part of these efforts, Italy’s contribution has
helped farmers who are members of the Network of Peasant Organizations and
Agricultural Producers in West Africa (ROPPA) to become better organized and to
participate in policy dialogue at the regional and international levels.
Building market linkages
Guided by IFAD’s private-sector partnership strategy, about 20 per cent of Italy’s
contribution to IFAD links small rural enterprises with larger private-sector businesses.
In 2003, Italy provided a US$3.6 million contribution to establish a Facility for
Farmers’ Access to Markets (FFAM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, The former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Albania. The contribution was made
possible by the Italian law 84/2001 and supported the involvement of Italian privatepublic
Limited access to credit and weak markets are major obstacles to smallholder
farmers in the Western Balkans. The FFAM works with ongoing IFAD operations in
the region to link farmers and their associations with financial services and agri-food
processors, and to establish sustainable supply chains and access to competitive
markets. The FFAM is supporting:
• the creation of an integrated cooperation network of dairy producers, traders and
processors in Bosnia and Herzegovina
• new supply chains for wine, small livestock, vegetables, berries and dairy products
in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
• the transformation of a local finance fund into a successful client-owned rural bank
in the Republic of Albania
Near East and North Africa
Asia and the Pacific
Latin America and
In addition to the FFAM in the Balkans, Italy has funded programmes to strengthen
fibre and meat production in Bolivia, and cassava processing and marketing in
Focusing on the environment
Italy’s voluntary contributions assist in the fight against land degradation – a serious
problem that feeds a vicious cycle of poverty in the world’s poorest communities. Italy’s
support enables IFAD to help shape national policies that improve agricultural
productivity while conserving the environment in Armenia, Egypt, Haiti, Morocco, the
Niger, the Sudan and Tunisia.
Market access and
Pro-poor policy dialogue
and capacity building
and natural resource
Italy’s voluntary and extra-budgetary contributions (US$)
Voluntary contributions (1994-2006)
Law 84/2001 for the Establishment of a Facility for Farmers’ Access to Markets
(FFAM) in the Balkans
Inter-American Development Bank-IFAD-Italy Multi-Donor Programme to Eradicate
Rural Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean
Facility to Support Rural Finance – RURALFIN
Socialist Republic of Viet Nam: Pilot Project for Poverty Reduction in Gia Lai Province**
* Amount in US$ translated at date of receipt
** Contribution approved on 5 December 2005 but not yet received
Capitalizing on cassava
The root of the cassava plant is an essential source of calories and income for
millions of people around the globe. One of the benefits of the plant is that it can
grow in places where most cereals and other crops cannot. While cassava is
mainly grown by poor subsistence farmers, its use in industry is on the rise.
The cassava root can be processed into chips, pellets, flour, alcohol or starch,
and used in a variety of industries, including livestock feed, textiles, confections,
plywood and soft drinks.
Promoting the commercial aspects of cassava can play a powerful role in the
fight against rural poverty. In 2005, Italy gave US$1.3 million to cofinance the
IFAD-supported African Cassava Processing and Marketing Initiative for
Sub-Saharan Africa. Farmers participated in the formulation of the programme after
receiving training from a capacity-building initiative cofinanced by Italy in 2003.
The African Cassava Processing and Marketing Initiative was unveiled in
March 2006 at a regional workshop in Accra, where the Italian ambassador to Ghana
shared the slogan for the new IFAD-Italy strategy: “Think big – start small – scale up
fast!”. By “starting small”, the idea is to disseminate information about cassava
production via farmers’ groups and promote local access to seeds for planting.
To “scale up fast”, Italy and IFAD encourage the development community to seek
out viable opportunities for cassava investment and to introduce quality control
measures that will encourage private financiers to invest in cassava as well.
IFAD’s current portfolio for cassava-related operations amounts to US$106 million,
with ongoing projects in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria.
Baró Bará shows how cassava is
harvested in the village of Gazori,
Aguié Province, in the Niger.
New crops improve health and
boost incomes in the Niger
Alima Eberhaim with
her 18-month-old child,
Danja village, Maradi
Province, the Niger
Alima Eberhaim, 25, and her four children were among the millions of people in the Niger
who suffered from a severe food shortage in 2005 after a combination of drought and
desert locusts reduced cereal production. Many people sold their livestock and other
assets to try to survive. Alima traded one of her three goats to buy millet for her family,
but the millet lasted only one week.
It is difficult for Alima to gather enough food to feed herself and her children every day.
Like many of her neighbours in the rural village of Danja, her family has too little to eat for
long periods of time. And when food is available, it is usually just one staple product.
Without a varied diet to ensure proper nutrition, it is that much harder for poor rural
people like Alima and her family to survive drought and other crises.
Supported by Italy’s voluntary contribution, IFAD’s Project for the Promotion of Local
Initiatives for Development in Aguié provided Alima and groups of local men and women
with the resources to start growing winter crops. This was the first time local women,
who lack secure access to land and other resources, were free to engage in agricultural
businesses on their own. The groups received seeds for cabbage, onions and potatoes,
as well as technical training.
The project gave Alima and her children the possibility of better nutrition. It also
provided Alima with an opportunity to increase her income. She now sells her extra
produce at the local market. Saving a small amount of money from her new income,
Alima can now access the credit she needs to increase her small flock of goats. Such
an investment will enable Alima and her family to better cope with crises in the future.
Solar power and new skills enhance
villagers’ lives in the Sudan
Kaokab Hamad, Shrim
village, Bara Province,
Irrigated farming is rare in rural Sudan. In the remote village of Shrim, vegetables were
not grown during the dry season because women could not fetch enough water by
hand to feed the crops. But today, thanks to Italian support, small solar-powered water
pumps easily provide water for drinking and horticulture, transforming people’s lives in
Shrim and other villages.
Women are now free from the time-consuming task of collecting enough water for their
family’s daily needs. With the time she used to spend fetching water, Kaokab Hamad, 22,
now participates in training programmes and literacy classes made possible by another
Italian grant. The training includes home-industry skills that could be developed into
microbusinesses. These courses inspire Kaokab to plan a better future: “I want to go to
university and eventually get a proper job,” she says.
Via del Serafico 107, 00142 Rome, Italy
Tel.: +39 06 54591, Fax: +39 06 5043463
Resource Mobilization Division
Via del Serafico, 107
00142 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 5459 2706
Fax: +39 06 5043463
Resource Mobilization Division
Via del Serafico, 107
00142 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 5459 2609
Fax: +39 06 5043463