November 30, 2018.- Cornelia Richter, Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), begins a four-day visit to Bolivia today to meet with government officials and development partners to discuss ways to strengthen alliances and have a greater impact on the lives of rural poor people in the country.
"While Bolivia continues to make progress in health, education and productive infrastructure in rural areas, poverty continues to be severe," said Richter. "Experience has shown that with political will and technical expertise we can effectively reduce poverty. IFAD will continue to partner with Bolivia in its efforts to support rural families get out of poverty."
According to recent National Statistics data, poverty decreased by 21 points in Bolivia between 2005 and 2015 (from 59.6 per cent to 38.6 per cent). Even so, there is a large gap in living conditions between urban and rural areas. While extreme poverty impacts only 9.3 per cent of urban population, it affects 33 per cent of rural people.
IFAD's strategy in Bolivia focuses on supporting pro-family-farming policies and programmes that aim to ensure national food security and inclusive, sustainable rural transformation in the context of climate change, which deeply affects the country. Bolivia is one of the world's 10 most affected countries and it is predicted that the negative impact on the economy will decrease the country’s GDP by an estimated 10 per cent in 2020.
The projects supported by IFAD aim to strengthen the capacities of rural organizations, such as cooperatives and producers' associations, to help smallholder farmers set up profitable and sustainable rural businesses. IFAD pays special attention to the needs of disadvantaged groups such as women, youth and indigenous peoples. It also aims at giving family farmers tools to counter the negative effects of climate change on rural people's livelihoods.
During her visit, Richter will meet with top Bolivian officials, including Diego Pary, Minister of Foreign Relations; Mariana Prado, Minister of Planning, and César Cocarico, Minister of Rural Development and Lands. She will also meet with representatives from other UN agencies, international financial institutions and bilateral overseas development agencies.
Richter will also visit the two ongoing IFAD-supported projects in Bolivia, Procamélidos y Accesos. Procamélidos builds on previous IFAD-funded projects to further boost and improve camelid-related production in Bolivia, addressing challenges such as low productivity, limited availability of feed and water, and low addition of value to raw material. Meanwhile, Accesos focuses on co-financing the development of self-organized community enterprises to connect producers with markets and create economic alternatives in rural areas, promoting broad-based access to financial services, including savings, credit and insurance.