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IFAD President to Japan for first visit since taking office Food security and climate change on the agenda during two-day visit

Press Release 09-066-E 2009.11.30

Rome, 30 November 2009 – The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze, will this week make his first visit to Japan since taking office in April.

Nwanze will meet senior officials at the Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Finance ministries and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as well as members of the Japanese parliament, to discuss issues such as food security and climate change, with particular reference to Africa.

More than 50 per cent of IFAD’s portfolio of work is in Africa, and Japan has pledged to double official development assistance to Africa by 2012.

Nwanze’s visit comes shortly before discussions in Copenhagen on climate change, which is already impacting the millions of smallholder farmers with whom IFAD works, and after the UN-hosted World Summit on Food Security in Rome.

‘Smallholder agriculture is where the two crucial challenges of our times – food security and climate change – intersect’ said Nwanze on the eve of his trip.

“Smallholder farmers produce 80 per cent of the food consumed in the developing world and feed one third of the global population. By supporting them to produce more food, we can both improve the availability of food and increase their incomes,” he said.

Yet these same farmers are the most exposed to climate change and the least equipped to deal with it. “They need a survival package that includes: secure financing for smallholder agriculture, cutting-edge agricultural technologies, microfinance services and weather-indexed insurance,” Nwanze said.

Notes to Editors:
Japan is a major partner of IFAD and has to date pledged over US$ 390 million to IFAD’s regular resources. Japan pledged $60 million to IFAD’s 8th replenishment, an 82 per cent increase over the previous one. Japan has co-financed $64.6 million in support of nine projects, of which four in the Asia and Pacific region.
Japan has also pledged a further US$ 21.47 million to the Special Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa (SPA) and has provided US$ 60 million to co finance seven IFAD projects: two in Sri Lanka, and one in Bangladesh, Gaza and the West Bank, Georgia, Togo and Zimbabwe.
IFAD is also a partner in the Japanese-sponsored New Rice for Africa (NERICA). Nerica’s development was led by Japan, which funded research at the Africa Rice Centre, formerly WARDA, and IFAD funding helped in the roll-out of the rice variety to other parts of Africa.