• Non-ICIMOD publication
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The difference we make: Enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty

75 per cent of the world's poorest people - 720 million men, women and children who survive on less than US$1 a day - live in the rural areas of developing countries. More than 2 billion rural people live on less than US$2 a day. Most are smallholder farmers and their families, who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Today, climate change and the high cost of food and energy are compounding the challenges these people face every day in trying to make a living. Strengthening the ability of smallholder farmers to respond to these old and new challenges benefits all of us. Smallholder farmers have the potential to grow more food to help feed the world, store carbon on their land to slow the impact of climate change, and supply more renewable energy. Rural poverty can be overcome. It requires long-term solutions to the triple scourge of poverty, climate change, and rising food and energy prices. These include:

  • the right policies at national and international levels;
  • greater investment in smallholder agriculture;
  • building the capacity of poor rural women and men and their organizations.
Governments, smallholder farmers and their organisations, and other development partners must work together to transform rural economies and create opportunities that result in lasting improvements for rural communities. To help them do so is IFAD's challenge.