IFAD President commits support to Kenya’s efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty by building smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate change

Rome, 17 November 2015 – A week before world leaders gather to hammer out an international climate agreement, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze, visits Kenya 18 – 21 November to meet with government officials and discuss the importance of investing in climate change resilience to achieve zero hunger and poverty targets in the country by 2030.

As co-chair of the negotiations, Kenya played a leading role in shaping the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, which were adopted by the international community in September. And although Kenya recently acquired the status of a middle income country, poverty continues to affect half of those living in rural areas. As agriculture remains the backbone of the country’s economy, with small-scale production accounting for at least 75 per cent of the total agricultural output, targeted investments in building resilience to climate change will continue to be a priority for the region.

“At IFAD we believe that smallholder farmers lie at the heart of successful solutions to meet the challenges ahead of us,” Nwanze said. “If we invest in their access to weather information, disaster preparedness, social learning and technology transfer, small farmers can feed a growing population while restoring degraded ecosystems and reducing agriculture's carbon footprint.”

During his stay, Nwanze will meet with the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, as well as other government officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

While in the country, Nwanze will be briefed on current IFAD-supported programmes and projects in the country, including the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, the World Food Programme and the European Union with whom IFAD has brokered a strategic partnership to scale up investments in arid and semi-arid lands. This joint programme, which mobilizes more than US$230 million, aims to help smallholder farmers move from subsistence to commercial farming by boosting productivity and improving post-production and marketing practices. This investment also intends to ensure that smallholder producers can avail themselves of improved natural resource management practices and build their resilience to climate change.

IFAD’s ongoing five investments in Kenya amount to $438.5 million. These programmes directly benefit over 500,000 rural households, with further benefit to an estimated 2.5 million people.

Press release No.: IFAD/78/2015

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided nearly US$17 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 453 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agriculture hub.