New funding for farmers feeding the world

UK support to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will boost food security, protect the planet, and reduce poverty

  • UK support to IFAD will boost food security, protect the planet, and reduce poverty 
  • it will help promote agricultural growth that is environmentally friendly  
  • this funding will be focused on helping poor rural farmers and producers

The UK is boosting support to poor rural farmers around the world to boost food security for the future. 

Nearly half of the world’s population lives in the rural areas of developing countries and rely on small farms for their livelihoods.  

These small farms are critical to feeding the world, producing up to 70% of food eaten in low- and middle-income countries.  

To protect these livelihoods and global food security, the UK is pledging £66.7 million to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN agency dedicated to supporting those living in extreme poverty rural areas.  

Since 2021, the number of people facing a serious lack of food has increased by 34%. In Africa, about 20% of the population faces hunger. Progress against the UN Global Goal on ending hunger and malnutrition is in reverse and current projections indicate that 670 million will still be facing hunger in 2030. 

This work is more urgent now than ever. While global food systems are struggling in the face of conflict and economic turmoil and climate change, rural people and small-scale farmers are particularly vulnerable to climate shocks, instability and forced migration.  

The UK is leading efforts to find solutions. Last month the UK hosted the Global Food Security Summit which brought together partner countries, organisations and world-renowned experts – including IFAD – to explore ways of ending hunger and malnutrition.

The UK is a founding member of IFAD, whose programmes improve food security and nutrition, empower women and girls and help protect the planet. IFAD-supported projects help farmers to increase yields through enhanced soil and pest management, fertilizer use and access to better quality seeds. They also help rural women grow more food, connect to markets, increase their incomes, and become more literate and financially skilled. 

It aims to support more than 100 million poor rural people from its latest replenishment round. 

Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell said: 

"Christmas is a good moment to reflect that the world is in the throes of a serious food security crisis. Feeding the world may sound like a cliché at this time of year, but hunger and malnutrition are a scourge, putting lives and livelihoods under grave threat. The tragic irony is that we live in a world of plenty. It is scandalous that anyone should go to bed hungry for reasons that we have the power to fix.

"That is why the UK is investing £66.7 million in IFAD’s work for the next 3 years. Simple steps like better land management and smarter farming practices can help produce more crops and reduce waste. Renewable technology will help farmers rise to the climate challenge in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and protects the natural environment.

"We must act before the food crisis reached unconscionable proportions. In less than 30 years’ time there will be 2 billion more mouths to feed in the world than there are today. We urgently need to increase food production and make food systems sustainable."

President of IFAD, Alvaro Lario said:

"We are grateful to the United Kingdom for their generous contribution to IFAD’s 13th Replenishment, which confirms their unwavering commitment to eradicating rural poverty and hunger.

"This contribution will further strengthen our long-standing partnership, a relationship that has played a vital role in transforming the livelihoods of millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable rural people. The UK’s pioneering investments in small-scale agriculture climate adaptation have been instrumental in empowering smallholder farmers and building resilient food systems in the face of climate change."

The UK has been the driving force behind IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), which channels climate finance to smallholder farmers to build their resilience, increasing yields and enhancing biodiversity.

For each dollar invested in ASAP, IFAD was able to leverage $6.5 from other governments and organisations to help build climate work into all IFAD agricultural projects, supporting an additional 3.2 million people to cope with the impacts of climate change.

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP