Panafrican News Agency

Food systems ignoring needs of rural people doomed to fail - IFAD warns

Rome, Italy (PANA) - If the world  ignores the challenges and needs of rural people in the poorest countries, attempts to create more equitable and sustainable food systems are doomed to fail, a UN official said on Friday.

Gilbert F Houngbo, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), sounded the warning ahead of the UN Food Systems pre-Summit that begins in Rome on Monday.

“Rural people have long been sidelined in food value chains. While they toil to produce much of our food, too often they receive a pittance for their efforts and are left vulnerable to shocks,” he said.

IFAD is the UN agency which leads on tackling rural poverty and hunger.

“This is a critical moment to address the inequity of our food systems," he said.

Without concrete actions that result in real changes for rural producers, hunger and poverty will only grow, and increased instability and migration will follow.

Rural small-scale farmers produce about a third of global food, and supply up to 80 per cent of food in parts of Africa and Asia.

Although they play a major role in keeping food systems functioning, they themselves often go hungry.

In 2020, this was exacerbated by climate change, conflict, and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in a dramatic increase in global hunger.

This is according to a report jointly released by five UN agencies including IFAD last week which sates that one in 10 people now go hungry.  

At the Food Systems pre-Summit (26-28 July), IFAD will join thousands of governments, companies, development agencies, farmers and civil society organisations to discuss ways to transform how we grow, process, sell and consume food to make it more sustainable and equitable.

The pre-Summit aims to establish a common vision, launch commitments and mobilise partnerships for financing.

-0- PANA DJ/MA 24July2021