Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), June 20, GNA – Dr Kanayo Felix Nwanze, President of the International Fund of Agriculture Development (IFAD) has called on governments to step up investment in agriculture for smallholder famers to enable them grow more food and increase income.
“We need to turn rural areas into vibrant places where young people have the opportunity to earn their living, to build up a business and to start a family,” he said.
Dr Nwanze was speaking to journalists ahead of the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development, which starts on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This year's conference would focus on two themes including a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development.
Dr Nwanze noted that the private sector had more and more become an important partner to achieve sustainability worldwide.
According to the President, the challenge of leveraging private sector engagement was one of the most pressing priorities for achieving food and nutrition security and overcoming poverty.
He said: “today, the private sector increasingly is the engine of growth in rural areas”.
Dr Nwanze said over the 20 years there has been an improvement in the lives of rural dwellers and infrastructure has been enhanced for small farmers to reach markets easier.
He said there was no magic bullet that would eliminate poverty and unemployment to guarantee sustainable food security overnight, but agriculture has the power to reduce poverty and feed people.
“It provides employment opportunities for young women and men,” he noted.
He called on journalists attending the conference to play the most important role in telling the story of rural women and men and their contribution to sustainable development and food security for all.
“We can raise awareness on the issues facing the rural poor such as food insecurity and malnutrition,” Dr Nwanze added.
He expressed the hope that the conference would offer the opportunity to advocate solutions for smallholder farmers to achieve and measure sustainable development and poverty reduction.
Currently, IFAD is funding projects in Ghana including the Northern Rural growth programme, Rural Enterprise programme, Rural Enterprise project II and Root and Tube improvement and market programme to support rural development.
Morkporkpor Anku, GNA Special Correspondent to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.