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Financing secure for UN small farm aid

Financing to help some 500 million small farms around the world is secure for the time being despite the global credit crunch and rising commodity prices, a UN agency told Reuters Sept. 22.

The Internat ional Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, wants to raise US$3.5 billion in its next round of funding for the years 2010-12.

Its funding is secure through 2009, IFAD vice-president Kanayo Nwanze said in an interview on the sidelines of a meeting on Africa’s development needs.

The falling U. S. dollar, in which global commodities are priced, and the resulting surge in commodities such as seed and fertilizer, has hit small subsistence farmers globally.

This has put a strain on food-related development and assistance agencies. IFAD says small farms feed about two billion people, roughly a third of the global population.

“I want to again emphasize that the current financial crisis would not have an immediate impact on our ability to finance our programs and projects for the immediate future,” Nwanze said.

“However, should the exchange rate for the dollar continue to fall then we might have problems because then total imports would be affected,” he said, referring to the import of seeds and fertilizers.

The dollar has fallen back toward record-low levels as a financial crisis has deepened in the U. S. and triggered unprecedented involvement of the government in private banking.

Asked if donor countries are pulling back, Nwanze sounded hopeful. “From all indications that we have had in the three sessions of the replenishment, we are very positive that our donors are going to respond.”

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