In a timely visit—following the just completed COP26, and as countries face the need to pursue their development while taking measures to combat climate change – President Gilbert F. Houngbo of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will be in Côte d’Ivoire 21–23 November to meet with President Alassane Ouattara and other government officials for strategic discussions, as well as meeting small-scale farmers in the field.
Climate change, resilience building, agricultural transformation and rural prosperity, strategic partnership and the small-scale farmers will be at the top of the agenda.
Although Côte d’Ivoire has one of the more dynamic economies of Africa, poverty continues to affect half of those living in rural areas.
Agriculture remains the backbone of the economy, and the country is among the top world producers of many agricultural crops (cocoa, mango, cola, etc.) with small-scale production accounting for at least 75 per cent of the total agricultural output.
This is why targeted investments in building resilience to climate change of small-scale farmers are important.
Smallholder farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and in Africa as a whole are key to successful solutions to meet global challenges.
The goal is to reduce poverty and improve the food and nutrition security of small-scale farmers by supporting selected commodity value chains, which offer opportunities for increasing income, climate resilience and employment in rural areas.
With access to weather information, disaster preparedness, social learning and technology, land tenure, processing technologies and equipment for value addition, small-scale farmers can feed a growing population while restoring degraded ecosystems and reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint.
All of this will require investment – both from public and private sectors – in the poorest and most marginalized rural people.
Houngbo will meet with the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara; the State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani; Minister of Economy and Finances, Adama Coulibaly; Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Sidi Tiemoko Touré; and the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Jean-Luc Assi.
They will discuss the importance of investing in climate change resilience to achieve zero hunger and poverty targets in the country by 2030. He will also meet the United Nations Country team working in Côte d’Ivoire and discuss the progress of UN reform on the ground. He will also meet IFAD staff based in Abidjan Regional Office under the decentralization.
In Abidjan, Houngbo will sign the IFAD Regional Office Host Country Agreement with Jean Sansan Kambilé, Minister of Justice and Human Rights (on behalf of Kandia Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire).
The Regional Office will coordinate the delivery of all interventions in West and Central Africa, with the relocation from Rome to Abidjan bringing IFAD closer to its clients.
Presence in the capital will help build stronger partnerships for the sustainable transformation of food systems for the benefit of farmers and other rural people.
Houngbo will also visit Divo to meet with the small-scale cocoa producers who are members of Enterprise Cooperative Kimbe (ECOOKIM), a union of 29 cocoa cooperatives, in order to see first-hand how the support from ECOOKIM is transforming their life and the challenges they are facing. ECOOKIM received a loan from the ABC Fund, launched by IFAD, the European Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), Luxembourg and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to support small-scale producers with micro-loans and training on best agronomic practices.
ECOOKIM is the largest Union that supports its members obtain certification of their cocoa beans. It uses the premiums generated by the certification to increase access to water and education by building water pumps and schools in the rural areas where its union’s cooperatives operate.
Since 1984, IFAD has financed 12 rural development programmes and projects in Côte d’Ivoire at a total cost of US$ 419.67 million, with an IFAD investment of US$ 174.69 million. These programmes and projects have directly benefited 585,500 rural households.