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FAO and International Finance Corporation join forces

Accord aims to promote responsible private sector investment in agriculture

Photo: ©FAO/Paballo Thekiso
Seed processing plant in Mozambique.
19 January 2013, Berlin/Rome -The Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the FAO Director-General today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly promote responsible private agribusiness investment and create economic opportunities for rural communities.

The two institutions will work together to develop responsible agribusiness practices, increase the use by IFC of FAO's technical expertise and knowledge networks, and support agribusiness investment in low-income countries eligible for Global Agriculture and Food Security Program funding.

"The private sector, from smallholders to large agribusiness companies, is one of the main driving forces behind increased agricultural production and economic growth worldwide," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. "This agreement with IFC, which has an impressive track record of successful support to private agribusiness, will strengthen our efforts in this area."

"IFC is rapidly increasing investments across the agribusiness supply chain to promote food security and rural incomes," said IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Jin Yong Cai.  "We know we can have even greater development impact by working more closely with partners like FAO." 

IFC, which is part of the World Bank Group, provided $4.2 billion in financing to agribusiness in fiscal year 2012 worldwide, a 110 percent increase over fiscal year 2011.

FAO takes on new partners

Graziano da Silva said that FAO was now concentrating its work on the core strategic objectives of creating the conditions for the eradication of hunger, increasing sustainable production, reducing rural poverty, enabling more inclusive and efficient agriculture food systems and building resilience.

"In order to work towards those objectives, FAO is keen to strengthen its cooperation with multilateral development banks that support responsible private sector investment in efficient and inclusive food chains. The IFC is one of the few development banks with such a focus," he said.

Since Graziano da Silva became FAO Director-General in January 2012, the Organization has expanded considerably its work with partners including non-governmental and farmers' organizations, cooperatives, academic institutions, multilateral organizations and the private sector.