(Repeats with no changes in the text)
By Umberto Bacchi
ROME, Feb 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Training young
farmers to turn agriculture into a business is key to
eradicating poverty and curbing economic migration, the new
president of the U.N. agricultural development agency said on
Three quarters of the world's poorest people live in rural
areas, predominantly in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and many
rely on farming to survive, according to the United Nations.
Countries need to provide them with better equipment and
infrastructure to achieve an ambitious plan agreed by world
leaders to end poverty and hunger by 2030, according to Gilbert
Houngbo, the new head of the International Fund for Agricultural
"To unleash the business spirit in smallholder women and men
(farmers) is critical," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation
in an interview.
Greater government investment needs to go hand in hand with
educational schemes and private-sector partnerships aimed at
broadening young people's skills and prospects, he said.
He suggested, for example, that training schemes could help
tomato growers become producers of tomato sauce.
Although Houngbo has previously held senior roles at big
international bodies, he said it was growing up in a small
village in a rural area of Togo, one of the world's poorest
countries, that best prepared him for the job.
"I know how it feels, not being able to increase the yield,
as at the end of the season, when you have your crop, you cannot
bring it to the market because you there is no rural road," he
Houngbo said that helping young people from villages like
his own fulfil their potential at home would make them less
inclined to migrate to rich countries.
"I believe that a carefully thought youth employment
programme in the rural activities is part of the solution when
it comes to economic migration," he said.
Houngbo, who served as Prime Minister of Togo from 2008 to
2012, was appointed as president of IFAD on Tuesday evening.
He beat seven other candidates to take the helm of the
Rome-based agency that provides investments supporting rural
people in developing countries.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay
Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian
news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate
change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)