Africa’s Food Security Depends Largely on Organized Farmers

Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania are hosting a four-day forum that brings together policymakers, development practitioners, rural producers and farmers organizations to find ways to strengthen food security and poverty reduction at country and regional levels.

With the theme “For an effective partnership with farmers and rural producers organizations,” the 10th Regional Implementation Forum for IFAD-supported projects in West and Central Africa takes place 8 -12 April in Nouakchott, Mauritania. High-level participants in the event include Lemina Mint El Ghotob Ould Moma, Minister of Agriculture of Mauritania, and Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD.

In outlining the food security and poverty challenges ahead, Ides de Willebois, Regional Director for West and Central Africa Division at IFAD said, “Farmers organizations are the essential link in agriculture and rural development in these regions because they are central to the agricultural, economic, political and social dynamics of the country.” He added, “It is critical that we pursue partnerships with them in order to foster sustainability, including of IFAD-funded activities.”

Over four days, the forum will work on strategies to strengthen country level partnerships between farmer organizations and the IFAD programmes in the region. Participants will discuss recent developments, examine lessons learned from IFAD-funded projects in West and Central Africa, and work toward consensus on how all partners can improve results and impact on the lives of the rural poor.

As of December 2017, IFAD has supported 39 ongoing programmes and projects in 23 countries in West and Central Africa, representing US$1.3 billion in IFAD financing. More than 5 million people, 54 percent of whom are women are benefitting from the investment.

Since its founding in 1977, IFAD has supported national efforts to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and poor rural people around the world by financing more than 1,000 development projects, with a value of $19.7 billion.

Since 1980, IFAD has financed 14 projects and programmes in Mauritania for a total of $342.3 million, including $136.2 million from IFAD’s own resources, directly benefitting some 190,470 Mauritanian rural households.

Prior to the official opening of the Regional Implementation Forum, the first West and Central Africa Farmers Forum will take place on 9 April in Nouakchott.

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