The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the People’s Republic of China launch the Hunan Rural Revitalization Demonstration Project (H2RDP) today to increase the profitability of specialized agricultural production and increase economic vitality in targeted rural areas of Hunan province – and to help vulnerable rural households improve their means livelihoods and their resilience.
In China, over the past decades, the active workforce has migrated from rural to urban areas in search of better wages and a greater variety of benefits and income-generating opportunities. This massive migration left rural areas with a reduced labor force and little interest in agriculture as a viable income channel. Rural areas urgently need revitalization, investment and a young generation of farmers interested in developing the agricultural sector and actively participating in a renewed rural economy.
Although China has declared the eradication of extreme poverty in 2020, households in remote rural areas remain vulnerable. Hunan province is home to a large part of these households. In 2020, the average income in rural Hunan was only 40% of the average income of people living in urban areas of the province.
“With this project, IFAD will help China pilot innovative approaches to revitalize rural farming communities: develop inclusive private sector investment models that generate new and diverse income opportunities; help young people and women to start their own businesses; and modernize a comprehensive farmer training program that includes youth and women. said Matteo Marchisio, IFAD country director in China.
H2RDP aims to contribute to China’s rural revitalization strategy adopted by the government as part of its post-2020 development trajectory.
The project will also develop and implement a climate resilient public infrastructure plan. This component of the project aims to fill gaps in rural infrastructure that may limit or hinder the implementation of project activities. It will reduce the risks and impacts associated with changing weather and climate conditions and boost agricultural production that is more sustainable and resilient to climate change.
The project will boost women’s economic empowerment and address some of the root causes that limit women’s equal access to resources and economic opportunities. IFAD’s sister UN agency, UN Women, will work closely with project staff in the field to tackle these issues.
The H2RDP project will be implemented over five years and in ten counties of Changde, Xiangxi, Shaoyang and Chenzhou. It is expected to directly benefit about 328,000 people and indirectly to 85,000 others.
The total cost of the project is US $ 173.27 million, of which IFAD is financing US $ 60.2 million through a loan. China will contribute US $ 90.86 million and the private sector will invest US $ 21.47 million.
To date, IFAD has supported 33 development projects in China at a total project cost of US $ 2.99 billion, of which US $ 1.15 billion has been provided by IFAD. About 4,589,181 poor rural households were affected.
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IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and build resilience. Since 1978, we have provided approximately US $ 23.2 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have affected some 518 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Rome – the United Nations’ hub for food and agriculture.