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The Role of IFAD in Resolving Global Food and Agricultural Issues

The Role of IFAD in Resolving Global Food and Agricultural Issues

Introduction

IFAD (the International Fund for Agricultural Development) is an important global program for debating and solving global food and agriculture issues. This specialized agency of the United Nations aims to extirpate hunger and poverty in third world countries. It struggles to enhance awareness about the importance of funding agriculture and rural development. IFAD has an important impact on resolving global food and agriculture issues. The main goals of IFAD are to overcome the most essential causes of hunger and malnutrition, build resilience through sustainable agriculture, surmount global food security crisis, as well as improve agricultural technologies.

Over the past decade, the whole planet has been affected by a great number of economic, agricultural and food crises. This situation shows that people all over the world must unite their efforts and sources to overcome global poverty and hunger. IFAD follows the motto of “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (General Assembly, 2012). This organization has 176 member states all over the world (General Assembly, 2012).

The main goal of this organization is to empower poor rural people, help them achieve better quality of life. IFAD believes that rural people have enough potential and power to eradicate poverty and hunger. Poor people have to create and stimulate their own organizations, so they can develop their own conceptions and ideas in order to remove obstacles.

Main Body

IFAD intends to overcome principal causes of hunger and malnutrition in the world. The main causes of hunger and malnutrition are scarce natural sources as well as poor economic and social policies. Devastating political conflicts and economic crises have the most deplorable effects. Other important causes of hunger and malnutrition are plant pests and animal diseases. Hunger and malnutrition flourish because of the deficit of economic and social authorization (AllAfrica, 2016). Poor people in the rural area often have no access to natural resources such as fertile land and clear water; they also lack special agriculture knowledge (Pacific Institute, 2015). IFAD struggles to spread all the necessary knowledge among poor rural people. Natural disasters, soil degradation, poor ecosystem, and natural resources exhaustion cause scarcity of food and malnutrition, according to IFAD.

The world’s cultivated land has risen by 13% over fifty years (Benin, 2016). The scope of agricultural production has increased three times. Therefore, IFAD increases production of major crops and spreads education among illiterate poor people. This method is very powerful in third world countries. Education provides free access to income and well-being. In some poor countries, IFAD established food-for-education company. Children can have free food for attending a school. Education is essential for saving poor countries. IFAD is also focused on government interference. For example, it involves programs that supply food to poor mothers with children. The International Fund for Agricultural Development tries to control birth rate in poor countries. High birth rate is a very serious problem. People from such countries need special knowledge on reproduction since they do not have contraceptives. IFAD gives poor people an opportunity to gain knowledge on family planning. IFAD tries to teach people from poor rural areas on how to establish their own supply of food. Climate changes and natural disasters cause hunger in poor countries. IFAD elaborates climate-related adaptation programs to strengthen resilience of the agriculture sector. Organic soil nutrients and different eco-friendly methods may reduce greenhouse gas emissions. IFAD elaborates conservation agriculture, pest management and eco-friendly approaches to ecosystem to improve food production (AllAfrica, 2016). Food losses impose risk on poor people. Approximately 1.2 billion tons of food is not consumed (Newswire Newsletter, 2008). Food losses happen in both poor and developed countries all along food chains. Harvesting techniques and infrastructure of agriculture sector should be improved according to Kanayo F. Nwanze, the current President of IFAD. The reduction in food losses will have a fantastic impact on solving hunger problems.

Over the past 15 years, IFAD lifted more than 300 million poor people out of poverty (Newswire Newsletter, 2008). Unfortunately, poverty remains a global problem that relates to more than 1 billion people living in developing countries (Newswire Newsletter, 2008). Rural poverty report demonstrates that the rate of poverty in developing countries dropped from 39% to 32% over the past 5 years (Momagri, n.d.).

Building resilience through sustainable agriculture is an important element in overcoming hunger and malnutrition worldwide. Poor countries need sustainable agricultural intensification. Environmental degradation, such as as deforestation and soil degradation, decrease nature productivity as well as its ability to feed people all over the world. Thus, another IFAD’s priority is enhancing market access. Subsidies of agricultural producers should be also enhanced. Food price volatility is very important factor that influences global food and agricultural issues. The price for products is closely interrelated with food and agriculture supply. It is very specific sinc it depends on national policies. National policies are affected by the price transmission from the world markets to domestic markets. The prices for basic products increased by 130% (OECD, 2013). IFAD tries to encourage government to implement more efficient policies. It provided 200 million dollars to enhance agricultural production in poor countries (Newswire Newsletter, 2008). In 2012, IFAD presented Action Plan on food price policy. It includes crucial data on sustainable agriculture and food issues. This plan gives awards to new agriculture price policy and methods. It is very essential for developing countries. The increase of biofuel production creates new problems related to food affordability for poor people. IFAD removes subsidies for biofuel production. It helps to reduce the pressure on food producers. These actions suppress production of biofuels from food crops. The International Fund for Agricultural Development accelerates researches on biofuels that will not need food crops (OECD, 2013). Efficient use of food, water and energy resources is a key factor in resolving poverty and hunger issues. Good management of land, water, energy resources, and agroforestry will help to resolve food and agricultural issues faster. People should turn to more sustainable nutrition and use energy and water more efficiently. Water scarcity needs special policy. IFAD conducts great research on adaptation of agriculture in poor and rich countries.

Overcoming global food security crisis is essential for IFAD. Food security is a concordance connected to the supply of food and its availability for people. Ideal food security exists when all people, all members of society, have enough food at all times. People and nations who are food secure are not afraid of hunger or starvation. According to IFAD, food insecurity is a situation when availability of food is limited and uncertain. Food security incorporates a wide range of measures of resilience to future critical food supply because of different factors, including natural disasters, economic crises, and political conflicts.

Unfortunately, people from many countries experience ongoing food scarcity and malnutrition nowadays. It results in health problems. For example, a fifty-year-old person may die of heart disease because his or her organism did not obtain enough nutrients during early childhood. Malnutrition often leads to different mental development problems.

The rise of world food prices posed threats to the world food security. It may provoke political, environmental, social, and economical consequences. This situation causes challenges for poor countries. The most vulnerable social class is poor people, who are extremely affected. Quick price rise stems from the long-termed tendencies, such as the increase in world population that demands bigger amount of food, lack of agriculture funding, as well as the increase of oil prices. All these trends exacerbate price volatility. Food crisis creates the most serious problems in the agricultural system of third world countries. This crisis causes difficulties in world food market. Such problems are connected with subsidies on production and tariffs on food. As a result, price spikes and availability of products becomes a challenge for poor countries. The rapid rise in food prices increases the number of undernourished people (Todd, 2013). It is estimated that the food crisis increases the number of people, who cannot afford food. More than 1 billion of undernourished people now struggle for better life (Todd, 2013). Prices are going to rise again and become volatile for some time. This situation will worsen the already tense situation in the world. Trade volumes will decline, remittances will be reduced. The enormous rise of global prices made the International Fund for Agricultural Development establish High Global Security in April 2008 (Todd, 2013). The main idea of this organization is to bring together the heads of international organizations in order to solve global food security crisis. It follows a twin-track method, trying to meet urgent needs as well as carry out actions related to the long-term needs. This organization struggles to enable poor people to understand their right to normal nutrition. IFAD’s goal is to ensure normal nourishment all over the world.

Improving agricultural technologies is of the utmost importance for IFAD. Agriculture is an essential economic sector in third world countries. It employs people, feeds them, creates the biggest share in the country – Gross Domestic Product. Therefore, it is important to use effective techniques and technologies to keep normal economic level. For example, Cambodia is famous for jasmine rice. In spite of this fact, 34% of Cambodian children are malnourished (Momagri, n.d.). One of the primary reasons of low productivity is the limited usage of modern technology. This country uses rainfed system to irrigate fields. The International Fund for Agricultural Development implements effective irrigation technology, which is available nowadays. The usage of modern technologies will make harvesting more productive. IFAD recommends modern inputs, such as agrochemicals and fertilizers in order to minimize losses (Todd, 2008). Moreover, it will help save crops from weeds, pests and diseases. Using satellite maps will boost harvest yields and reduce starvation. Precision agriculture is very effective kind of farming. It will provide great export opportunity to poorer countries. Farmers will increase crop yields and food security by utilizing proven modern technologies and scientific researches. Modern equipment usually pays for itself. Thus, enhanced productivity will increase income of farmers. The International Fund for Agricultural Development provides third world countries with scientific expertise and helps farmers in developing countries. Over the past two years, IFAD programs managed to increase productivity for thousands of small farm businesses. In many African countries, life of rural people depends on subsistence agriculture. The key element of effective farming is knowledge. Farmers in poor countries do not have enough knowledge to measure efficiency, which is very important. A farmer needs to determine instances where their actions are not efficient and find out the reason of it. Another step is to figure out how to change this situation. Improvement in agricultural technologies contributes to efficiency in productivity. New equipment will cover the costs very fast and bring income. Cost efficiency is a real problem for farmers in poor countries because they do not have enough knowledge in this sphere. Everything in the sphere of agriculture costs money. A farmer that can spend money effectively is very flexible. He makes right decisions when it comes to buying new equipment. The goal of the International Fund for Agricultural Development is to inform and educate farmers in poor countries about cost efficiency. People are taught to use modern agricultural technologies to improve food security. Modern technologies work for farmers. IFAD has programs, which create special organizations that involve counselors who know the language and traditions of a certain country (Gale Group, 2007). They build trust between farmers of poor countries and modern technologies. It must help in solving global food and agriculture issues.

On the other hand, there are critics, who accuse approaches of IFAD against global poverty and hunger. They exhort IFAD to provide better transparency and clearer goals that can be reached. Bill Gates, the founder of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, calls upon the International Fund for Agricultural Development to update inefficient approaches. He urged all food organizations to work on accurate measurable aims in order to increase food security and to support food productivity. IFAD responded to Gates remarks: “IFAD would go one step further to add to Mr Gates comments to call for resources for rural agricultural development to be expanded and used more effectively and strategically by a ground-up approach” (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2016). In future, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is going to cooperate with the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Bill Gates stressed the importance of the  productivity growth, while IFAD emphasized that enhancing productivity is just one small step towards eradication of poverty (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2016). IFAD states that they need more complex approach. It should include women’s empowerment, special education for farmers, as well as children. There are many options, but all of them should be customized according to the culture and economic situation of every specific region of the poor country. The number of hungry people increased to 1 billion and food prices ascended (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2016). According to IFAD’s estimates, farmers from poor Asian and African countries can double their yields in 20 years. It may save 400 million people from hunger (OECD, 2013). Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and IFAD agreed that there is only one method to ensure food security and stable agricultural production. This method includes focusing on smallholder farmers in poor countries. There are many opponents of IFAD among other organizations. In addition, there are organizations that work together to boost food security in poor countries. For example, FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) shares mutual goals and strategies (OECD, 2013). These two organizations signed an agreement to sponsor the Republic of Benin. They also work on the project PADMAR. The aim of this project is to create three thousand new jobs for young people and improve food security. IFAD will invest fifty million dollars. The government of Benin will bring in five million dollars (Momagri, n.d.). This project will boost incomes of local farmers. This improvement will contribute to all economic sectors. For instance, 130 km of roads will be repaired (OECD, 2013). Young people from rural areas move to towns and cities due to lack of jobs. This project will promote the adoption of new farming technologies to improve the productivity of smallholder farmers.

Conclusion

IFAD’s primary goal is to overcome the main causes of hunger and malnutrition, which are natural resources scarcity as well as poor economic and social policies. IFAD creates special programs to detect and overcome the main causes of malnutrition. This organization establishes sustainable agriculture in poor countries. It is an important element, which may help to overcome hunger and malnutrition worldwide. This fund also struggles for food security in poor countries. It develops programs that will make food available for poor people. Improvement in agricultural technologies is a priority for this organization because outdated equipment deters rural development and food production. IFAD solves global issues related to food and agriculture on a daily basis.

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