<p>Agriculture is recognized, not only as a way of life and crucial for national socio-economic development, but as an engine for growth, particularly in the IDB's agriculture-based member countries. The sector is a source of income and employment for the majority of rural populations in IDB member countries and contributes significantly to their GDP. Hence, developing a country's agricultural and rural sectors is considered a socio-economic and political priority for member countries.</p>

<p>The agricultural sector is primarily subsistence-based, dominated by smallholders who produce more than 70% of the food consumed in member countries. Poverty and malnutrition is highest in rural areas where more than 50% of the population live, and particularly in smallholder households. Almost half of the fifty-seven IDBG member countries are classified as low income food deficit countries (LIFDCs).</p>

<p>Collectively, IDB member countries represent 19% of the world’s total population, and occupy about 25% of the world's land area, accounting for 28.8% of the world’s total agricultural area, 13.5% of the world's total renewable water resources. About 37% of the irrigated land and nearly 50% of rain-fed land in member countries remains unused. Member countries are leading producers of 18 of the major agricultural commodities in the world. IDB member countries also produce about 15% of the world’s total cereal, horticulture and meat production. However, production is concentrated in a few countries.</p>

<p>Since its inception, the Bank has approved a total of US$12.3 billion for investment projects in agriculture and rural development in its 57 member countries. The current active portfolio is more than US$6 billion. In addition to the Bank’s investment, the IDBG also provides financing for agriculture through its other entities including International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).</p>

<p>About the IDB’s Agriculture and Rural Development department</p>

<p>The Agriculture and Rural Development department develops and implements the Bank’s strategy, assistance framework, plan of action and work program in the agriculture and rural development sector. Its mission is to promote sustainable, inclusive, integrated and equitable agriculture and rural development that supports the modernization of food systems, enhances food security and increases the resilience of populations through efficient natural resources management, and increased productivity and connectivity.</p>

<p>The department has three divisions:</p>

<li>Agriculture and Food Security (crop and livestock productivity, rural infrastructure, food and nutrition security)</li>
<li>Integrated Rural Development (development of rural micro-finance industry and off-farm enterprises)</li>
<li>Water Resources and Environment (multi-purpose rural water infrastructure)</li>

<p>The Department plays a key role in enabling the IDBG to achieve the following strategic objectives:</p>

<li>Accelerate integrated and inclusive sustainable agriculture and rural development</li>
<li>Sustainable natural resources management and environmental protection</li>
<li>Poverty alleviation and food security</li>
<li>Enhance private sector participation in sustainable inclusive and equitable agriculture and rural development</li>
<li>Contribute to increasing intra-IDBG member country trade in agricultural and food commodities</li>
<li>Support agriculture and rural Islamic financing</li>
<li>Enhance human resources and institutional capacities (technical and institutional development and knowledge)</li>