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Director-General  José Graziano da Silva

Netherlands Princess meets with the Director-General

Inclusive financing for rural poor can be instrumental in fighting hunger
©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico
FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, meeting with HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, FAO headquarters.

21 March 2013, Rome, Italy – FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands met to discuss ways to support poor rural families in fighting hunger and extreme poverty by improving their access to financial services. 

Princess Máxima visited Rome in her capacity of UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. She met with Graziano da Silva before the two took part in a panel on the subject organized by FAO, IFAD, and WFP.

They noted that rural families were often left out of national strategies to improve access to financial services due to a lack of infrastructure in rural areas.

Princess Máxima said that financial inclusion of extremely poor rural families – and, in particular rural women and youth -  was necessary to guarantee the levels of investment in agriculture and other activities needed to generate jobs and improve food security and nutrition across the board.

The Director-General stressed the importance of making investments in areas and ways that specifically contribute to reducing hunger and poverty. As noted in FAO’s State of Food and Agriculture 2012 report, not all investments in agriculture contribute equally to doing so.

The discussion included the possibility of linking rural financial inclusion with upcoming discussions on the 2014 International Year of Family Farming.

“Financial inclusion can be an important element of comprehensive food security and rural development strategies. Access to financial services and products can give poor families the means they need to improve their livelihoods,” Graziano da Silva said following the meeting with the Princess. 

“FAO already places a lot of emphasis on this area and this is an aspect of rural development that we hope to build on in future cooperation between The Netherlands and FAO,” theDirector-Generaladded.

In 2012, The Netherlands contributed some $22 million in new funding to FAO projects, representing 11 percent of all funding received from the European Union, including the EU Commission and the 27 EU member states.