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IFAD launches $40m COVID-19 fund to support rural farmers in vulnerable countries

IFAD launches $40m COVID-19 fund to support rural farmers in vulnerable countries
April 20
15:24 2020
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The United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has launched a $40m COVID-19 fund to support rural farmers in vulnerable countries.

In a statement on Monday, the agency said the facility will mitigate the effects of the pandemic on food production, market access and rural employment.

Gilbert Houngbo, IFAD president, said the pandemic may push rural families deeper into poverty and desperation if immediate action is not taken.

“We need to act now to stop this health crisis transforming into a food crisis,” Houngbo said.

“With immediate action, we can provide rural people with the tools to adapt and ensure a quicker recovery, averting an even bigger humanitarian crisis.

“This pandemic is threatening the gains we have made in reducing poverty over the past years. To avoid serious disruption to rural economies, it is essential to ensure agriculture, food chains, markets and trade continue to function.”

The agricultural agency said an economic downturn in rural areas could increase instability, especially in fragile states.

It said a timely response to the pandemic would build the resilience of rural populations to crisis, whether related to health, climate or conflict.

Quoting a recent study, IFAD warned that in a worst-case scenario, the economic impact of the pandemic could push a further half-billion people into poverty.

The UN agency said it is working to raise  an additional $200 million because more than 65 countries have requested for help to cushion the impact of the pandemic.

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