The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It was established as an international financial institution in 1977. It is one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. IFAD focuses on country-specific solutions, which can involve increasing rural poor peoples’ access to financial services, markets, technology, land and other natural resources.
IFAD’s goal is to empower poor rural women and men in developing countries to achieve higher incomes and improved food security. IFAD will ensure that poor rural people have better access to, and the skills and organization they need to take advantage of:
- Natural resources, especially secure access to land and water, and improved natural resource management and conservation practices.
- 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
IFAD is committed to achieving the target to halve the proportion of hungry and extremely poor people by 2015. 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. IFAD’s highest decision-making authority is the Governing Council with 165 Member States represented by a Governor and Alternate Governor and any other designated advisers. The Council meets annually. The Executive Board is responsible for overseeing the general operations of IFAD and approving loans and grants. It is composed of 18 members and 18 alternate members. IFAD’s chief executive officer and chair of the Executive Board is the President, who serves for a four-year term.