Overview

  • Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity and feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050.  Growth in the agriculture sector is two to four times more effectivein raising incomes among the poorest compared to other sectors. 2016 analyses found that 65% of poor working adults made a living through agriculture.

    Agriculture is also crucial to economic growth: in 2014, it accounted for one-third of global gross-domestic product (GDP).

    But agriculture-driven growth, poverty reduction, and food security are at risk:  Climate change could cut crop yields, especially in the world’s most food-insecure regions. Agriculture, forestry and land use change are responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. Mitigation in the agriculture sector is part of the solution to climate change.

    The current food system also threatens the health of people and the planet: agriculture accounts for 70% of water use and generates unsustainable levels of pollution and waste. Risks associated with poor diets are also the leading cause of death worldwide. Millions of people are either not eating enough or eating the wrong types of food, resulting in a double burden of malnutrition that can lead to illnesses and health crises. A 2018 report found that the absolute number of hungry and undernourished people increased to nearly 821 million in 2017, from around 804 million in 2016.  Adult obesity is also increasing. In 2017, one in eight adults--or more than 672 million people—is obese.

    Last Updated: Oct 02, 2018

  • The World Bank Group works with countries, providing innovation, infrastructure and resources so that the food and agriculture sector:

    • is Climate-Smart: more productive and resilient in the face of climate change while reducing emissions, both for crops and livestock;
    • improves livelihoods and creates more and better jobs, including for women and youth;
    • boosts agribusiness by building inclusive and efficient value chains; and
    • improves food security and produces enough safe, nutritious food for everyone, everywhere, every day.

    In 2018, there was US$ 6.8 billion in new IBRD/IDA commitments to agriculture and related sectors.  In 2018, 93 projects that were implemented helped provide 5.6 million farmers with agricultural assets and services.  2 million farmers adopted improved agricultural technology. Irrigation and drainage was improved on 540,000 hectares of agricultural land.

    The International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) investments were US$ 4.5 billion. IFC financing goes to agribusiness, food companies, and banks. IFC also help clients improve productivity, climate-smart practices and food safety.

    The Bank is a partner in the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) and Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture.

    Last Updated: Oct 02, 2018

  • In Afghanistan since 2010, 60,700 people—50% of them women—have joined savings groups in 694 villages. The savings groups have saved over US$ 4.7 million and provided 41,900 loans. 1,424 enterprise groups and 617 small and medium enterprises have also benefited from stronger links to markets and value chains.

    In Brazil, since 2010, access to markets improved for over 830 rural producer organizations in the Sao Paolo Area. This has led to an 87% total sales increase, and improved environmental sustainability instruments and policies for over 8,700 farming families.

    In Bolivia since 2011, community investments have helped fight extreme rural poverty for over 150,000 small landholders, particularly indigenous populations, leading to increased road access for more than 15,000 people, and expanded or improved irrigation for more than 17,000 beneficiaries. Since 2015, additional funding for the initiative has benefitted over 25,000 additional families.

    In Burkina Faso between 2007 and 2017, a Bank-financed project benefitted more than 385,000 people—30% of them women. The project developed value chains for livestock, poultry, onion and mango. Most beneficiaries’ incomes rose by more 50% and agricultural exports from these supply chains increased by 10 times.

    In China since 2014, a Bank-supported project has helped expand climate-smart agriculture. Better water-use efficiency on 44,000 hectares of farmland and new technologies have improved soil conditions, and boosted production of rice by 12% and maize by 9%.  More than 29,000 farmers’ cooperatives report higher incomes and increased climate resilience.

    In Colombia, the adoption of environmentally friendly Silvopastoral Production Systems for 2,873 cattle ranching farms has converted over 26,730 hectares of degraded pastures into richer more productive landscapes and reduced over 840,000 tons CO2.

    In Cote d’Ivoire between 2011 and 2017, the Bank provided equipment and training to boost productivity for 50,000 rice farmers—25% of them women. A Bank-supported initiative helped rehabilitate 3,013 kilometers of rural roads and provide planting material for 9,820 hectares of cocoa, 8,570 hectares of rubber trees and 8,101 hectares of palm oil trees—ultimately benefiting 117,855 people. The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program boosted the productivity of 118,000 cocoa, palm oil, rubber, cotton and cashew nut farmers and rehabilitated 2685 kilometers of rural roads. The Bank also helped leverage US$ 21 million in private sector investment to boost productivity on at least 26,500 hectares.

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo between 2011 and 2017, 105,556 beneficiaries benefited from better access to agricultural services and rural infrastructure. Their cassava yields rose to 19 tons per hectare from 7. They also received access to 2,884 tons of improved maize, rice, groundnut and sorghum seed and mobilized US$400,000 through savings groups.

    In Ethiopiathe Bank helped provide 1.7 million pastoral and agro-pastoral communities access to reliable water; construct 1,536 km of roads; and implement irrigation schemes for 1,380 hectares. It mobilized US$ 1.9 billion dollars for rural saving and credit cooperatives to lend to members, with a repayment rate of 97%.

    In Haiti, a quick response to Hurricane Matthew provided seeds, fertilizer and plowing services to over 8,000 farmers during the 2016 and 2017 planting seasons. 6500 hectares were put back into production, ultimately supporting food security.

    In Honduras, since 2008, ‘productive alliances’ helped 7,200 small farmers improve their productivity and access to local and global markets. Land productivity increased by 24 % and gross sales of producer organizations rose by 23%.

    In Bihar, India until 2016, the Jeevika project transformed the livelihoods and economic well-being of 7 million women and their families. Women saved US$ 64 million and leveraged US$ 500 million from the formal financial sector Nearly 600,000 households benefited from additional income from new livelihood opportunities—including backyard poultry, dairy interventions and non-farm activities. 65% of surveyed households reported higher incomes.  

    Since 2013, Bank support has strengthened Indonesia’s agricultural research system. 33 centers now have the capacity to develop improved rice, vegetable, fruit varieties. The project has supported 138 agriculture researchers through degree programs; upgraded 27 labs and 9 research stations, and funded 421 research activities.

    In Jamaica between 2009 and 2017, an initiative focused on sustainable growth and stronger value chains helped over 4,320 farmers in 13 Parishes. The initiative introduced drip irrigation, water storage, livestock production and processing plants; organized 180 greenhouses for year-round crop production and established relationships between farmers and buyers.

    In Mexico in 2016, 1,165 small and medium agribusiness have adopted environmentally sustainable energy technologies, reducing C02 emissions by 3,388,670 tons.

    In Montenegro, the Bank helped 660 agricultural producers get new equipment, cattle and crops have more cattle or more crops and comply with EU requirements for food safety, animal health and environment protection, improving their competitiveness and long-term sustainability.

    In Myanmar the Bank has helped boost irrigation infrastructure and the use of climate-smart technologies. Since 2017, the Bank has helped to improve irrigation and drainage on 5,808 hectares of land that serves 5,600 users and shared CSA technologies with 17,034 beneficiaries-- 21% of them women.

    In Nepal, the Bank-supported Nepal Poverty Alleviation Fund helped small farmers and rural poor people access microcredit, assets, services and training. Since 2004, it has created over 30,000 community organizations and impacted over 900,000 households.

    In the Philippines since 2015, the Bank has helped improve provincial planning for priority commodities in all 81 provinces of the country. 320 km of rural road improvements have been completed with an additional 2,000 km being improved, benefiting 500,000 households.  120,000 beneficiaries received support through 585 agriculture enterprise projects and improved provincial planning further resulted in provinces being able to mobilize an additional US$ 400 million of funds for identified priority investments in agriculture.

    In Rwanda between 2010 and 2017, the Bank helped support more than 370,000 farmers—50 % of them women-- in improving their agricultural production by developing over 7,400 hectares for marshland irrigation and improving soil conservation and erosion on more than 33,600 hectares of hillsides. Maize yields, rice yields and potato yields have all more than doubled and around 2.50 tons of vegetables are exported to Europe every week.

    In the Sahel since 2016, the Bank helped vaccinate 56 million small ruminants such as sheep and goats and 55 million cattle against major diseases, and leverage additional funding for animal health.

    In Togo between 2012 and 2018, the Bank helped farmers adopt better breeding techniques, allowing 18,149 livestock producers to grow their incomes and raise healthier livestock. The Bank also provided planting material to boost production for 33,817 farmers—10% of them female-- working on 18,525 hectares of cocoa, and 34, 207 hectares of coffee plantations.

    In Tunisia, the Bank helped 113 remote rural villages improve land management practices on 37,000 hectares of land to increase productivity and sustainability and build and rehabilitate 930 km of rural roads serving some 160 villages. 

    In Uruguay since 2014, climate-smart agriculture techniques have been adopted on 2,946,000 hectares, providing for a carbon sequestration potential of up to 9 million tons CO2 annually

    In Vietnam since 2010, the Bank has promoted sustainable livelihoods by helping develop 9,000 ‘common interest groups’ (CIGs) comprising over 15,500 households, and partnering them with agro-enterprises. The Bank also helped over 20,000 farmers improve their livestock production and benefited an additional 130,000 people through capacity building and investments in food safety.

    Last Updated: Oct 02, 2018

  • The Agriculture Finance Support Facility (AgriFin) works with bankers, banker associations and others to foster learning and build capacity on financing agriculture in developing countries.

    CGIAR Global Agricultural Research advances cutting-edge science to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve human health and nutrition, and ensure the sustainable management of natural resources.

    The Forum for Agricultural Risk Management in Development (FARMD) is a knowledge platform that provides information and best practices on agricultural risk management.

    The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) finances investments that increase incomes and improve food and nutrition security in developing countries.

    The Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) is dedicated to improving the safety of food worldwide through capacity building in middle-income and developing countries.

    The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development is a network that increase and improve development assistance in agriculture and rural development.

    The Alliance for Good Fisheries Governance (ALLFISH) is a public-private partnership to establish sustainable fisheries and successful aquaculture operations in developing countries.

    The Global Program on Fisheries (PROFISH) was established to improve environmental sustainability, human wellbeing and economic performance in the world’s fisheries and aquaculture, with a focus on fisheries and fish farming communities in the developing world.

    The Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) is an inter-Agency platform that enhances food market transparency and encourages coordinated policy action. It assembles food balance data, monitors trends, provides market analysis and builds capacity in countries.

    Last Updated: Oct 02, 2018

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In Depth

CGIAR Global Agricultural Research

CGIAR advances cutting-edge science to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve human health and nutrition, and ensure the sustainable management of natural resources.

AgriFin: Agriculture Finance Support Facility

Find out how AgriFin works with banks, banker associations and others to foster learning and build capacity on financing agriculture in developing countries.

Forum for Agricultural Risk Management in Development

The Forum for Agricultural Risk Management in Development (FARMD) is a knowledge platform that provides information and best practices on agricultural risk management.

Global Agriculture and Food Security Program

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) finances investments that increase incomes and improve food and nutrition security in developing countries.

Global Food Safety Partnership

Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) is dedicated to improving the safety of food worldwide through capacity building in middle-income and developing countries.

Additional Resources

Media Inquiries

Washington, D.C.
Flore de Preneuf
fdepreneuf@worldbank.org