Creating Opportunity Where It's Needed Most
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Annual Report

Annual Report > 2013 Online Report  > Stories of Impact 

Expanding Opportunity for Small Farmers

India's Rural Women

We work with the private sector to make food affordable and available to people who need it most.

More than 2 billion people—a third of mankind—depend on food produced by small farmers. Such farmers tend to be the norm in regions of the world where hunger is greatest. 

Helping these farmers increase their productivity and linking them to markets is an essential way to feed the nearly 1 billion people in the world who go hungry every day. It’s essential for managing food stocks at a time when global demand for higher-quality food is rising and when climate change poses risks that could hurt agricultural productivity. 

Strengthening agribusiness is a priority for IFC—because it is essential for food security and because it is essential for raising incomes for the poor, three-quarters of whom live in rural areas. 

Our approach is comprehensive. We work with the private sector to increase the supply of affordable food and to ensure it is available to people who need it most. We also work with financial institutions, commodity trading firms, companies, and civil society organizations to help large and small farmers overcome obstacles to higher productivity and become part of the agriculture supply chain. 

Across East Asia and the Pacific, for example, IFC has worked with major coffee buyers—such as Ecom Coffee—to help farmers achieve the quality and sustainability certifications they need to sell coffee in international markets. These certifications have helped thousands of farmers increase productivity and boost revenues. 

IFC plays a prominent role in global initiatives to strengthen food security. We manage the private sector window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a multilateral fund set up to help the Group of 20 leading economies deliver on its food-security commitments. The private sector part of this fund enables IFC to reach even the smallest farmers and rural enterprises, by blending donor financing with commercial credit. 

This year, IFC and GAFSP’s private sector window jointly invested $10 million in Root Capital, a social investment fund, to help it expand access to working capital and markets for 300,000 small farmers over the next four years. 

Weather, pests and crop disease, land degradation, and market failures can make farming a risky enterprise. Through our innovative Global Index Insurance Facility—which we launched with the World Bank and several donor partners—we helped about 119,000 small-scale farmers in seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Sri Lanka to insure their crops and livestock against risks of severe weather events such as floods and drought. 



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