In the face of a looming food crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany has committed funds to the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to help ensure small-scale farmers can continue growing food in some of the poorest regions of the world.
Germany’s €27.3 million contribution to IFAD’s Rural Poor Stimulus Facility will provide small-scale food producers with timely access to inputs, markets, liquidity and information to help ensure a continuous food supply in the worst affected areas in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The Facility was launched in April by IFAD’s Goodwill Ambassadors, Idris and Sabrina Elba.
“The impact of COVID-19 on the world’s most vulnerable rural people has been brutal. If they continue to struggle to feed their families or earn a decent living, we will have a far greater crisis on our hands. Keeping local food chains going is a way to help bring some stability and prevent mass migration and conflict,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD. “With this generous and timely contribution, the Government and people of Germany are reaffirming their commitment to building a more stable world where people live free from hunger.”
“COVID-19 has severe implications for poor rural people and smallholder farmers in developing countries,” said Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. “IFAD’s Rural Poor Stimulus Facility provides key inputs, targeted funds and other important assistance to these farmers in order to stabilize agricultural production and markets. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is happy to support the Facility’s important work with a significant contribution of more than €27 million.”
Up to 132 million additional people are expected to go hungry this year due to the economic impact of the pandemic, according to UN estimates, which would mean one in ten people would be suffering from hunger. Extreme poverty is also expected to rise this year for the first time in two decades.
Measures to limit the spread of the pandemic have led to restrictions in trade and movement which have prevented farmers from planting and harvesting crops, and from accessing markets to sell their produce and buy inputs. They have also disrupted domestic and international food supply chains, putting millions of rural livelihoods at risk.
The Facility has already approved 50 proposals for funds which will support around 1.5 million people, including in some of the world’s most challenging contexts such as Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia and Yemen.
IFAD is currently advocating for an increase in long-term investments in agriculture and rural development to ensure recovery from COVID-19 and to transform food systems to make them more inclusive, productive, resilient and sustainable.
Germany is a founding member of IFAD and one of its main donors. It has contributed more than US$610 million to the Fund since it was established in 1978.