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 effective in 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: Sep 23, 2019

  • 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 2019, there was US$ 5.4 billion in new IBRD/IDA commitments to agriculture and related sectors.  In 2019, 94 projects that were implemented helped provide 6.7 million farmers with agricultural assets and services.  3 million farmers adopted improved agricultural technology. Irrigation and drainage were improved on 730,000 hectares of agricultural land.

    In 2019, 53% of the Bank’s agricultural investments are directly financing climate mitigation and adaptation measures, up from 28% just 4 years ago.

    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: Sep 23, 2019

  • In Afghanistan since 2010, 81,880 people — more than 50% of them women—have joined savings groups in 694 villages. The savings groups have saved over US$ 5.2 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 Armenia since 2014, the Bank is supporting 285,000 farmers in livestock farming and pasture management improvement.   Under the project, more than 110,000 heads of livestock –or about 17 percent of Armenia’s total livestock-- received improved animal health services.

    In Brazil, since 2010, access to markets improved for over 271 rural producer organizations, including 73 representing indigenous peoples, and land reform communities around Sao Paulo. This has led to an average 87% increase in sales revenues and improved environmental sustainability instruments and policies for over 340,000 farming families.

    In Bolivia following an initial and additional Bank funding since 2011, community investments have helped fight extreme rural poverty for over 281,000 small landholders, particularly indigenous populations, leading to increased road access for more than 21,000 people, and expanded or improved irrigation for more than 45,000 beneficiaries. 

    In Burkina Faso from 2000-2018, the Bank supported the “Programme National de Gestion des Terroirs which decentralized rural development and built local capacity to deliver basic services. The program also invested in water and soil conservation, agroforestry, and energy-saving stoves and other environmental technologies, helping to protect more than 200,000 hectares.

    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 over 4,1000 cattle ranching farms has converted 34,500 hectares of degraded pastures into more productive landscapes and captured 1 480,000 tons of CO2.

    In Cote d’Ivoire between 2013 and 2017, the Agriculture Sector Project boosted the productivity of 200,000 farmers and rehabilitated 6,500 kilometers of rural roads which allowed farmers to more easily bring their products to market and reduce their postharvest losses. To aid the cashew industry, the Bank also supported a research program that helped disseminate 209 genotypes of high-performing trees and establish 18 nurseries. The Bank-financed project also helped leverage US$27.5 million in private 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 Djibouti, the Bank supported the construction of 112 water mobilization units, which improved water access for 9,762 households. The Bank also helped introduce hydroponic agriculture to 30 beneficiaries, rehabilitated 96 hectares of irrigated farmland and produced 14,000 seedlings.  

    In Ethiopia, the Bank helped provide basic social and economic services to 4.5 million pastoral and agropastoral communities in over 113 ‘woredas’. It also helped expand access to rural financial services by supporting 857 Rural Saving and Credit Cooperatives that now have 77,881 members.

    In Honduras since 2018, 7,200 small farmers have used productive alliances to improve productivity and access to markets, which has leveraged US$14 million from commercial banks and microfinance institutions. Land productivity increased by 24% and gross sales of producer organizations rose by 23%. Also, in support to Honduras’ Dry Corridor Alliance, 4,000 households are implementing food security and agricultural business plans, and 2,100 households are undertaking hygiene investments to increase agricultural yields and improve nutrition and food diversity for 20,000 people.

    In Bihar, India the Jeevika project reached 9.8 million women and their families, transforming their livelihoods and economic well-being.  So far women have saved US$ 121 million and leveraged US$ 1.1 billion from the formal financial sector Since 2009, more than 1 million farmers have been trained to improve their productivity in staple crops such as rice and wheat.

    Since 2013, Bank support has strengthened Indonesia’s agricultural research system. 33 Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology (AIAT) centers now have the capacity to develop improved rice, vegetable, fruit varieties. The project has supported 161 agriculture researchers through degree programs (68 PhD and 93 Master’s degree); upgraded 58 labs and 54 research stations, and funded 1,134 research activities including 44 international research collaboration 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 Kosovo since 2017, the Bank helped over 860 farmers develop agro-processing enterprises which boosted their average farm incomes by 56%. Bank grants also improved the health and working conditions of beneficiaries, by establishing better working conditions in barns and reducing exposure to agro-chemicals.

    In Mexico until 2018, 1,842 small and medium agribusiness have adopted 2,286 environmentally sustainable energy technologies, reducing C02 emissions by 6.02 million tons.

    In Montenegro, the Bank helped 660 farmers get new equipment, cattle and crops and comply with EU requirements for food safety, animal health and environment protection, improving their competitiveness and sustainability.

    In Myanmar the Bank has helped boost irrigation infrastructure and the use of climate-smart technologies. Since 2017, the Bank helped to improve irrigation and drainage on 19,595 hectares of land that serves 33,688 beneficiaries and shared CSA technologies with 8,088 beneficiaries-- 26% 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 helped mainstream institutional and operational reforms, as well as science-based planning for agricultural commodities in 81 provinces. 452 rural infrastructure projects benefitting over 600,000 households have been approved-- 186 are already completed. The project aims to improve 2,300 km of farm-to-market roads, as well as irrigation systems, potable water systems, and other post-harvest infrastructures.

    In Rwanda between 2010 and 2018, the Bank-supported Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation project  helped increase productivity and commercialization of hillside agriculture in targeted areas. The project supported more than 310,000 farmers—50 % of them women-- in improving their agricultural production by providing hillside irrigation on over 2,500 hectares, and improving soil conservation and erosion on more than 18,000 hectares of hillsides. Irrigation paved the way for growing higher value crops, and for reducing exposure to weather and climate risks. Post-harvest infrastructure (46,630 tons of post-harvest handling capacity), together with the development of farmers’ organizations, helped improve the quality of produce. Maize yields and potato yields have all more than doubled and around 2.50 tons of vegetables are exported to Europe every week.

    In Togo since 2012, the Bank helped farmers improve breeding techniques, allowing 19,332 livestock producers to grow their incomes and raise healthier livestock. The Bank also provided planting materials to boost production for 33,817 farmers—10% of them female-- working on 21,209 hectares of cocoa, and 35, 505 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 improved 930 km of rural roads serving some 160 villages.  

    In Uruguay since 2014, climate-smart agriculture techniques have been adopted on 2.4 million hectares and adapted by 5,087 farmers, providing for a carbon sequestration potential of up to 9 million tons CO2 annually.

    In Uzbekistan since 2014, the Bank helped more than 800 beneficiaries boost their productivity. Beneficiary farmers created 78% more permanent jobs—the majority of which employ women, increased their profits by 250% and expanded into new markets such as India, Malaysia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. 15% of beneficiary farmers upgraded their production systems. Overall, 13,026 smallholders and 12,223 agricultural enterprise benefited.

    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 in food safety.

    The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAP),a regional program involving 13 countries and multiple partners, helped develop climate-smart varieties of staple crops, such as rice, banana plantain and maize. Collaboration with cooperative and extension workers across West Africa helped deliver 233 improved technologies including climate-smart crop varieties to farmers; provided climate-smart technologies such as post-harvest and food processing technologies; and trained farmers on climate-smart practices such as composting and agroforestry. Farmers also gained access to technologies such as efficient water harvesting systems.  As of July 2019, the project had directly helped more than 9.6 million people or more than 7.6 million hectares of land be more productive, resilient and sustainable. Beneficiary yields and incomes have grown by an average of about 30%, improving food security for about 50 million people in the region.

    Last Updated: Sep 23, 2019

  • 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: Sep 23, 2019

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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