International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. The Conference was organized in response to the food crises of the early 1970s. IFAD’s mission is to enable poor rural people to overcome poverty.
One of the most important insights emerging from the conference was that the causes of food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production. The crisis was rather a structural problem relating to poverty and to the fact that the majority of the developing world’s poor populations were concentrated in rural areas. IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries.
IFAD focuses on country-specific solutions. IFAD’s goal is to empower poor rural women and men in developing countries to achieve higher incomes and improved food security.
IFAD ensures that poor rural people take advantage of the following to attain its goal:
- Natural resources;
- Improved agricultural technologies and effective production services;
- A broad range of financial services;
- Transparent and competitive markets for agricultural inputs and produce;
- Opportunities for rural off-farm employment and enterprise development;
- Local and national policy and programming processes
Membership in IFAD is open to any state that is a member of the United Nations or its specialized agencies or the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Governing Council is IFAD’s highest decision-making authority, with 165 Member States represented by a Governor and Alternate Governor and any other designated advisers.