A partnership for prosperity: Canada and IFAD


A partnership for prosperity: Canada and IFAD

A partnership for prosperity

Enabling poor rural people

to overcome poverty

Canada and the International

Fund for Agricultural

Development (IFAD)


A food crisis sparks

global action

The International Fund for

Agricultural Development (IFAD)

emerged from the food crisis of the

early 1970s and the World Food

Conference of 1974. With financial

support from Canada and other

development partners, IFAD was

created as both a specialized agency

of the United Nations and an

international financial institution.

IFAD supports measures that help

people in rural areas to overcome

poverty and build better lives.

Since its creation, IFAD has helped

more than 400 million people to

grow more food, better manage

their land and other natural

resources, learn new skills, start

businesses, build strong

organizations, and gain a voice in

decisions that affect their lives.

Since those early years, food

insecurity has become even more

prevalent, especially in rural areas.

Floods, droughts, population growth,

and the impact of climate change all

continue to challenge efforts to build

sustainable agricultural systems that

can provide access to safe and

nutritious food for all. Today, some

1.3 billion people live on less than

US$1.25 per day; roughly 870 million

go to bed hungry every night.

The partnership between IFAD

and Canada is more important than

ever because it supports global

commitments to improve food

security, enhance nutrition, and

assist smallholder farmers to move

from poverty to prosperity.

Making development

cooperation work for

smallholder farmers

Both IFAD and Canada strive to

enhance the impact of their

cooperation with developing

countries. During the 2009 L’Aquila

G8 Summit, as part of its development

effectiveness agenda, Canada pledged

to double its investment in agriculture.

Canada was the first G8 country to

meet its commitments. That same

year, IFAD endorsed management

reforms to enhance its efficiency

so it could stretch its dollars,

improve transparency, and achieve

better results.


A partnership that

delivers results

©IFAD/Susan Beccio

The partnership between Canada and

IFAD delivers results for smallholder

farmers. The following examples, taken

from IFAD’s annual report, show what

has been achieved with the support of

Canada and other donors:

• 4.5 million people trained to use

improved agricultural practices

and technologies

• 5.5 million hectares of commonproperty

resource land improved

• 18,000 kilometres of roads built or

repaired, connecting often remote

rural communities to services,

markets, and urban centres

• 13,000 marketing groups formed

or strengthened

• 716,000 people trained in business

and entrepreneurship

• 2.1 million people trained to manage

common property resources such as

land, water, and forests

• 15 million savers and 30 million

borrowers served by rural financial

institutions, making it possible to

invest in farms and businesses, and

plan for the future.

Today, Canada and IFAD share

similar approaches to achieving

global food security – from enabling

smallholder farmers to access

knowledge, technology, credit,

markets, and land, to helping rural

communities adapt to and mitigate

the effects of climate change.

Supporting the pivotal role played

by women in all aspects of food

security is also central to all

IFAD programming.

In 2012, as part of IFAD’s Ninth

Replenishment (2013-2015), Canada

once again pledged US$75 million.

Canada was also instrumental in

ensuring that nutrition was included

in the organization’s Strategic

Framework (2011-2015), and in

helping IFAD launch the Adaptation

for Smallholder Agriculture

Programme (ASAP). This significant

investment points towards a new

phase of a relationship that is

increasingly focused on enhancing

nutrition outcomes and helping

smallholder farmers adapt to

climate change.


Canada and IFAD:

Tackling rural

poverty together

Mobile phones help farmers

stay on top of prices

Medagedra Dissanayake, a farmer in

rural Sri Lanka, was about to give up.

He was able to sell his cabbage, but

couldn’t seem to make any money.

By the time he reached the market,

prices for his produce had dropped.

But a project supported by IFAD has

given him new options.

With funding from IFAD and the

International Development Research

Centre, researchers in rural Asia and

the Pacific launched an experiment

with farmers in Sri Lanka, India,

the Philippines and China: could

real-time market information

through mobile phones help them

get better prices for their produce?

For farmers like Medagedra

Dissanayake, the answer was a

resounding Yes!

Price alerts over his new mobile

phone told Medagedra to hold off

harvesting his cabbage: prices were

lower than he expected. One day,

however, he noticed rising prices

throughout the day. In the late

afternoon, he quickly harvested the

cabbage with his family, finishing

the job after sunset by torchlight.

He managed to sell his cabbage at

the highest price that week. “When

I saw the price in the morning,

©IFAD/G.M.B. Akash


it was about 30 or 35 rupees,” he

recalls. “When I arrived at the

market with my cabbage, it had

reached 50 rupees.”

Similar stories played out for

other participating farmers in

Sri Lanka. Knowing real-time price

trends allowed farmers to better

time the harvesting of their crops.

It also helped improve their

decisions on when to cultivate

crops. And it encouraged them to

follow crop price trends outside

their expertise. In this way, they

could choose the right crop mix

and maximize their profits.

In countries like Sri Lanka,

mobile telephones alone will not

help farmers overcome poverty.

Research has shown, however, that

new communications technologies,

together with knowledge and

know-how, are an effective tool

that can help farmers reap benefits,

with an impact on their livelihoods

and the health and education of

their families.

What is IFAD?

IFAD is an international financial

institution and a specialized UN agency

based in Rome – the United Nations’

food and agriculture hub. It is a unique

partnership of 172 members from the

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting

Countries (OPEC), other developing

countries, and the Organisation for

Economic Co-operation and

Development (OECD). Helping farmers

increase agricultural production and

productivity is a priority of many

IFAD-supported projects. Long-term

improvements in these areas can only

be achieved by managing land, water

and natural resources sustainably.

IFAD also works to develop markets for

environmental goods and services.

IFAD brokers partnerships among the

diverse parties working in

development – particularly

governments, farmers’ organizations

and private-sector players – and for

South-South cooperation. Women are

major participants in agriculture and

rural economies, and rural women

make up about half of all IFAD

project participants.

At the end of 2012, IFAD was

financing 255 ongoing programmes

and projects with IFAD investments

of US$5.3 billion in 98 recipient

governments. External cofinancing and

funds from domestic sources for the

ongoing portfolio amounted to

US$6.6 billion, bringing the total value

of ongoing programmes and projects

in 2012 to US$11.9 billion.

©IFAD/Lana Slezic


Empowering women

in agriculture

IFAD incorporates gender equality

considerations across all of its

operations, focusing on economic

empowerment, decision-making,

and well-being. One example is the

Legal Empowerment of Women

Programme (LEWI), which was

supported by Canada.

In Burundi, after 12 years of civil

war in which many women were

killed, raped, or widowed, the return

of displaced populations is causing

community tensions. LEWI seeks to

resolve conflicts, provide legal

assistance for women, girls and

orphans, and to train para-legals

who can help in conflict resolution,

provide legal support and assist

women to return to agricultural

production and thereby increase

their income.

In Malawi, LEWI helps address

legal and property rights that

discriminate against women.

Vocational and life skills training,

as well as income-generating

activities, are an integral part of

increasing women’s participation

in the rural economy.

©IFAD/Sarah Morgan


Strengthening the

resilience of farmers

Canada and IFAD:

A natural fit

In 2012, Canada was the first country

to provide nearly $20 million to the

Adaptation for Smallholder

Agriculture Programme (ASAP).

This new programme is designed to

help small-scale farmers – who

occupy some of the world’s most

vulnerable and marginal lands –

to become more resilient to the

effects of climate change.

ASAP will build on approaches

that can increase yields and reduce

risk. Mixed crop/livestock systems

that integrate drought-tolerant crops

and manure, for example, can help

increase productivity while

diversifying risks across different

products. Crop rotation that

considers both food and fodder

crops can reduce exposure to climate

threats, while improving family

nutrition. And a combination of

agroforestry systems and communal

fishponds can improve soil quality,

increase the availability of water

during dry periods, and provide

additional income.

ASAP will empower communitybased

organizations to make use of

relevant skills, information, and

technologies. Improved networks of

weather stations, for example, can

provide farmers with more reliable

seasonal forecasts and cropping

calendars. By blending tried-and-true

approaches with modern know-how,

ASAP will increase the climate

resilience of IFAD’s approximately

US$1 billion per year of new

investments and will make a

real difference in the lives of

smallholder farmers.

Lighting a spark for

entrepreneurs in rural Ghana

“As soon as I became the IFAD

country programme manager for

English-speaking Caribbean countries,

I realized how big a role bilateral

development partners play in rural

poverty reduction in the Caribbean.

Collaborating with other development

partners is not a choice, it’s a necessity.

It makes for smart development.

Canada is one of three major donors in

the region and, having worked on

Canadian-funded programmes before,

I knew that building an IFAD-Canada

partnership would be easy. When it

comes to working with the poor in

agriculture and the rural sector, we

speak the same language. While most

countries in the subregion are classified

as middle-income, rural poverty still

prevails and youth unemployment is

prevalent. For technical reasons,

governments can only access loans at

ordinary rates. The situation thus calls

for effective partnership between

international financial institutions and

bilateral donors. An IFAD-Canada

collaboration to address such issues is

a natural fit, and we are pursuing it in

the Caribbean for the benefit of rural

and marginalized communities.”

- Esther Kasalu-Coffin

Through a partnership between

Canada and IFAD, budding

entrepreneurs in rural Ghana have

been getting the training and skills

they need to start or expand their

small businesses. Between 2003

and 2012, the Rural Enterprises

Project (REP) spread from its initial

13 marginalized northern districts

to cover 66 districts across the

country. In so doing, it trained

100,000 people in trades, business

management and marketing, and

helped kick-start 25,000 small and


“REP gave us training on how to

manage our business,” says Albert

Prebi, a shoemaker in Adidome, a

small town in North Tongu district.

“After that, I got a loan to expand the

business. Now, I often get phone

calls from people who see my tag in

sandals and casual wear.”


Cover: ©IFAD/Pablo Coral Vega

International Fund for Agricultural Development

Via Paolo di Dono, 44 - 00142 Rome, Italy

Tel: +39 06 54591 - Fax: +39 06 5043463

E-mail: ifad@ifad.org







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