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Sitharaman Meets IFAD President Houngbo To Boost Efforts For Rural Communities

While achieving food sufficiency in production, rural communities face challenges in raising household incomes, improving nutrition and tackling the effects of climate change.

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday met Gilbert F Houngbo, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), who is in India this week to meet government leaders for strengthening joint efforts to boost farmers' income and build sustainable food system.

Houngbo will also review project activities that have already empowered more than 10 lakh rural women. IFAD is an international financial institution and specialised United Nations agency based in Rome, the UN's food and agriculture hub. India has set an ambitious goal of doubling farmers' incomes by 2022. In spite of India's achievement of middle-income status, eradication of rural poverty remains a critical challenge.

While achieving food sufficiency in production, rural communities face challenges in raising household incomes, improving nutrition and tackling the effects of climate change.

"As one of the countries hardest hit by climate change, the partnership between India and IFAD and its shared work to build the resilience of rural communities has become increasingly important," said Houngbo.

"IFAD maintains its commitment to India to support their efforts in fortifying smallholder food production to be economically, socially and environmentally viable," he said in a statement.

There are currently seven IFAD-funded projects in India that support state governments' efforts to increase farmer incomes, enhance their access to markets and financial services, and promote sustainable, climate-resilient agricultural development that improves household nutrition.

During his visit, Houngbo will also meet Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narender Singh Tomar, Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries Giriraj Singh, and Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Rajeev Kumar.

Since 1979, IFAD has directly invested 1.28 billion dollars in 30 rural development projects in India, benefitting an estimated 52 lakh households.

(ANI)


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