The president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze, is coming India to discuss how rural transformation and gender empowerment are vital to sustainable poverty reduction and drive inclusive growth. IFAD has financed 26 projects in India for a total value of US$2.48 billion of which IFAD has contributed $877.3 million, directly benefiting 4.3 million households. It has been working in India for more than 30 years.
More than 116,000 self-help groups with 1.5 million members have been formed with support from IFAD to improve the lives of women in India. These women’s groups have proven to be effective to reduce gender-based violence, change social attitudes and enable women to start up small businesses. In rural India, agriculture and related sectors employ more than 90 per cent of the total female labour force. “The youth and women of India are some of its greatest assets,” Nwanze said. “If we invest in them, they will get the job done.”
Nwanze’s visit to India comes on the heels of member states forwarding to the United Nations General Assembly a set of proposed goals that consider the economic, social and environmental elements necessary to improve people’s lives and protect the planet. The goals include promoting sustainable agriculture, women empowerment and management of natural resources. In addition, the proposed goals outline advancing “decent work for all” and a pledge to reduce inequality. He will meet various Union Ministers, including the Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley and Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari during his five-day visit.
Nwanze will attend a regional conference organized by MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and will be speaking about the changing role of women in the economic transformation of family farming. He will also visit the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) at Hyderabad which conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.