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IFAD’s Governing Council endorses Ukraine as its 178th Member State

ROME, FEBRUARY 15 – Ukraine was endorsed today as the 178th member state to join the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The membership was endorsed by IFAD’s Governing Council – its highest decision-making authority. IFAD began discussing membership with Ukraine in 2016, and the Governing Council’s endorsement was among the last of the essential steps in the process. The membership comes into effect upon the deposit of Ukraine’s instrument of accession with the UN Secretary General.

“We are delighted to soon welcome Ukraine as our newest member. Ukraine’s membership is strongly aligned with IFAD’s mission to ensure that all rural people, particularly small-scale farmers, are included and empowered,” said Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD. “A founding member of the United Nations, Ukraine is known as one of the guarantors of global food security and a major agricultural producer with a lot to contribute as a member of IFAD,” said Yaroslav Melnyk, Ambassador of Ukraine to Italy.“Despite the war, Ukraine is still committed to contribute to the global food security to defuse the food crisis and save millions of people from hunger,” he added.

Since the start of the war nearly one year ago, it is estimated that Ukraine’s agricultural sector, one of the world’s top producers and exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, has suffered an estimated US$2.2 billion in damages. The ripple effects of the war have shaken global food systems and supply chains. Food prices reached an all-time high in March 2022 and remained notably higher than in previous years. High fuel and fertilizer costs in 2022 hampered food production and price hikes forced many small-scale farmers to choose between spending their limited financial resources on purchasing food or planting crops.

Small-scale food producers in poor countries have been among the hardest hit by the food crisis, which has been compounded by the lingering effects of the pandemic, global inflation, and intensifying climate changes and other shocks.

“IFAD was created to invest in, work with, empower, inspire and give voice to rural people. Over the decades we have learned what works and what doesn’t,” said Lario. “We have evidence that our people-centred approach to development delivers results – even in fragile, remote and marginal contexts,” he added.

Small-scale farmers in Ukraine

Although most of Ukraine’s exports come from large agricultural producers, 4 million small-scale farmers play a fundamental role in feeding the country, especially now during the war. They produce up to 80 per cent of dairy, fruits and vegetables, ensuring food security in the country.

The support of Ukraine’s small-scale farmers is also critical to internally displaced persons, many of whom have moved from urban to rural areas to escape the fighting. By selling their products in local markets, these small-scale farmers contribute to local supply chains and build the resilience of rural communities.

It is expected that small-scale producers in Ukraine’s western provinces, where there has been a significant increase in the population due to the war, will require support to meet the increased demand for food.

According to a recent report, many rural populations are on the brink of poverty, with 44 per cent living on incomes below the subsistence minimum, and 7 per cent experiencing malnutrition. Ukraine’s agrifood sector is a vital source of livelihoods for the roughly 13 million Ukrainians living in rural areas.

Ukraine will be fully integrated in IFAD’s next funding cycle, starting in 2025. In the meantime, IFAD will explore ways to mobilize funds to support Ukraine’s rural development priorities, including the rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, activities that help increase agricultural productivity, improve competitiveness and generate employment. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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