It is self-evident that agriculture and rural development contribute to food and nutrition security, but it is often forgotten that they also provide a pathway to employment, wealth creation and economic growth, and are a necessary precursor for global peace and security.
Research for development is essential. There is evidence that every dollar spent on agricultural research generates US$9 in additional food for developing countries. It is particularly important in dryland areas in this era of climate change. Dr. Kanayo Nwanze will explore the cost of neglect of agriculture, highlighting the importance of agriculture and research for development and outlining IFAD's experiences in helping poor rural people increase food production while conserving water and building resilient food systems.
The persistent neglect of agriculture for development has led to a situation where more than 800 million people suffer from chronic under-nutrition, and 160 million children under the age of five are stunted. This is not just a humanitarian disaster; the cost to global economies from stunting alone is estimated at US$125 billion in lost income once the children reach working age.