By Sanna Camara
Small-holder farmers invest four times more in agriculture than government, private sector and donors. This means investment in them is the key to growth in agriculture, which leads to better food security and creating wealth.
The president of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Kanayo F. Nwanze, has told journalists that when it comes to financing the future without hunger and poverty, IFAD’s message is clear – “it is not about money, it is about people.”
“If you talk about costs, numbers and look at how we might finance the future, I will say ‘invest first in rural people’- They are a far and under-utilized reserve, and our future begins with them,” the diplomat, who is an agricultural researcher by background argued.
The missing links….
Going beyond projects to programs
In response to question about missing links between IFAD’s investment and project outcomes in some countries, Kanayo F. Nwanze maintained they support agricultural productions and rural development projects but only at project level.
“Now we want to go beyond projects to programs so that we can actually have an impact,” he said.
Such impacts, especially at scale, take “partnerships”. According to the diplomat, this is where private sector, government, NGOs and civil society comes in…
“The missing link is moving up at scale so that we can impact on large population of the rural space,” he said.
“So what we are looking at here is how we achieve good partnership between private-public-producer-partnerships. Old partnerships have ignored the role of producers themselves. So we put them as part of the new equation, Nwanze explained.
At the press conference, journalists also had the opportunity to hear from Rwandan Finance Minister, whose country’s economy has been growing at 8 per cent since year 2000.
Minter Claver Gatete said in the case of Rwanda, agriculture features in so many areas of their national development for the next five years.
Sustaining 8 percent growth over ten years
“One is economic transformation, in which agriculture, especially the industrial part of it, is key to sustaining our own economic development…
He said agriculture also features in rural development which is also a second pillar of Rwanda’s development: “In terms of modernizing agriculture, investment in inputs, feeder roads, rural markets, and transportation are very crucial.”
The third pillar of our development is productivity and youth employment. “We see agriculture dominating not just in terms of providing jobs, but also increasing productivity… This is very crucial because agriculture contributes 32 per cent to our GDP.”