May 21, 2022

IFAD launches response to protect world’s rural poor against shocks from war in Ukraine

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“IFAD’s role is critical to mitigate any shocks to food systems and in doing so protect long-term development progress. The international community must anticipate the far-reaching and worryingly destabilizing consequences of this war in Europe by supporting the most vulnerable,” said Marteen Brouwer, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Kenya at a press event in Nairobi.

The repercussions of the war are being felt most acutely in parts of Africa, the Near East, and Central Asia but other countries and regions are becoming more affected by the day. Many countries are vulnerable to price shocks due to their high reliance on food and energy imports from Russia and Ukraine. Other countries, especially in Central Asia, are experiencing a deterioration of trade coupled with a significant reduction of the inflow of remittances. 

Vulnerable rural people are hit hard by the increasing prices of essential agricultural inputs, particularly now as they start a new planting season. Small-scale farmers, for instance, are struggling with paying fuel for machinery, fertilizer costs and transport to reach markets, and most don’t have the capacity to absorb price hikes.

In Somalia, one of the top priority countries for IFAD’s Crisis Response Initiative, electricity and transportation costs have spiked since the conflict in Ukraine started. Small-scale farmers relying on irrigation powered by small diesel engines have been affected. This shock compounds the worrying outlook of famine amid a severe drought.

“Most local farmers are unable to buy fuel and as a result they have incurred losses. We are now feeling the spiral effect in the cost of transportation, food and all other essential commodities,” said Fawzia Salah Mohamoud, a Somalian farmer. 

“Spiralling food and energy prices could eventually lead to social unrest and destabilize countries, particularly fragile states. Long-term stability is at stake,” said Donal Brown, IFAD Associate-Vice President Programme Management Department. 

IFAD’s response to the crisis

The goal of IFAD’s Crisis Response Initiative is to protect the livelihoods of small-scale producers and development gains made in recent years by addressing the urgent needs caused by the crisis. 

Building on IFAD’s recent experience in responding to COVID-19, the Initiative is geared towards ensuring small-scale farmers’ have access to key agricultural inputs, fuel, fertilizer, finance for immediate needs, and access to markets and market-related information. The Initiative will also contribute to reducing post-harvest losses by investing in small-scale infrastructure.

Note to editors:

List of countries supported by the Crisis Response Initiative in order of priority need: Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mozambique, Haiti, Ethiopia, Burundi, Eritrea, Madagascar, Central African Republic, Malawi, Chad, Niger, Mali, Uganda, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Comoros, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Benin.

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