Understand the context of rural poverty in Mexico and how the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is funding innovative solutions to empower poor rural people in the Mexican countryside.
and to productive resources such as land, technology, knowledge and credit, which would enable small farmers to improve their productivity and income. The causes are also partly transitional, triggered by economic crises that have hindered economic and social development. According to a report issued in February 2012 by the National Council for Evaluation of Social Development Policy, or CONEVAL, food price increases and the lack of long-term economic growth have reduced household purchasing power and contributed to poverty in Mexico. In addition, rural poverty reflects the income inequalities that prevail in the region. For example, while Mexico’s GDP per capita is US$8,920, the average income of the poorest 20 per cent of the rural population is US$456 per year. Rural poverty in Mexico is concentrated in areas with large indigenous populations, notably in the southern states. According to a Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung report, 75 per cent of indigenous people in the country were living below the poverty line and 39 per cent were in extreme poverty in 2009. In Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrero States, extreme poverty affects more than half of the population. The rural poverty rate dropped somewhat in the early 2000s due to a significant increase in public and private transfers – mainly in the form of remittances – as well as an expansion of rural non-farm employment and rural development programmes. However, the rate went back up with the global economic crisis later in the decade. Violence has also taken a toll on the country’s stability and development, with more than 15,000 people killed in drug-related incidents in 2010. Eradicating rural poverty in Mexico The authorities in Mexico have worked over the years to build a legal framework for lasting rural and social development. The Sustainable Rural Development Act of 2001 and the Social Development Act of 2003 were adopted to promote equal opportunities and sustained poverty reduction. Initiatives such as the 2003 National Rural Agreement, between major organizations of farmers and producers, sought to improve productive capacity. The National Development Plan 2007-2012 is guided by the principle of sustainable human development and built on pillars that include achievement of a competitive economy, equal opportunities for all and environmental sustainability. The plan details a substantial agenda providing for goals in rural poverty reduction, improved competitiveness, environmental management and institutional change. Targeted social-protection initiatives, such as the ‘Oportunidades’ conditional cash transfer and the Seguro Popular universal health insurance programmes, have helped to mitigate the effects of poverty in the wake of the global financial crisis. In addition, several national programmes emphasize social development, natural resource management and poverty reduction among indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups. Meanwhile, Mexico has taken an international leadership role in climate-change adaptation and mitigation, as the impacts of climate variability affect key sectors providing sustenance and livelihoods for the population. In particular, lower agricultural yields and insecure water supplies threaten the basic needs both of urban residents and rural communities.2
Ongoing operations Mexico City Rural Development Project in the Mixteca Region and the Mazahua Zone Community-Based Forestry Development in Southern States of Mexico Sustainable Development Project for Rural and Indigenous Communities of the Semi-Arid North-WestRural Development Project in the Mixteca Regionand the Mazahua ZoneThe objective of this project is to increase the income and employment of rural poor Total cost: US$47.5 millionand indigenous households in the Mixteca region, located within Guerrero, Oaxaca IFAD loan: US$18.7 millionand Puebla States, and the Mazahua zone, located in the State of Mexico. It IFAD grant: US$2.0 millionrepresents an investment in developing and consolidating pro-poor, small-producer Cofinancing: Spanish Food Security Cofinancing Facility Trust Fundvalue chains by strengthening the social fabric of rural and indigenous communities. (U$US15 million), United Mexican States (US$7 million), beneficiariesThe project has four main thrusts: (US$4.8 million)• Promoting the formation and development of grass-roots economic organizations. Duration: 2012-2018 Directly benefiting: 20,000 households• Developing social and entrepreneurial management capacities among a new cadre of local leaders, including rural and indigenous women and young people.• Supporting sustainable agricultural production through the rehabilitation and sound management of natural resources, particularly access to water.• Developing entrepreneurial linkages and rural microenterprises while facilitating wider access to markets.The project area comprises 50 priority municipalities that are home to most ofthe Mixteca indigenous population and two municipalities where about50,000 Mazahua indigenous people live. The target group consists mainly ofsubsistence agricultural producers who cultivate communal lands, unorganizedsmall livestock producers, artisans with weak linkages to markets, and rural andindigenous women and youth. 5