Members of the Executive Board and senior staff of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) travelled to Brazil from 21 to 25 November 2016 to visit the Semi-arid Sustainable Development Project in the State of Piaui´ (Projeto Viva o Semi-Árido), co-funded by IFAD and the Brazilian Government, and to meet with high-level government officials, representatives of the United Nations system in Brazil and other international financial institutions working in the country. Oscar A. Garcia, Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) was one of the high officials who accompanied the delegation.

The project is benefitting 22,000 families living in the sertão, the dry north-western region of the country, which has the highest concentration of Brazilians living in extreme poverty.

The country visit was an opportunity to increase the Executive Board’s awareness and knowledge about IFAD's work in the field; promote dialogue with state and federal government officials regarding, among other themes, IFAD’s role in Brazil; better understand the lessons emerging from evaluations of IFAD-supported operations in the country undertaken by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD and provide Board representatives with a more comprehensive perspective of the country situation and the challenges faced by IFAD-supported operations; and gain insights into public policies on family farming.

Mr Garcia delivered a presentation on the recently completed IOE country programme evaluation of IFAD-funded operations in Brazil. The main recommendations refer to: (1) Country strategy and projects to devote more explicit attention to smallholder agricultural activities, while continuing to pay attention to essential non-agricultural inputs for rural transformation; (2) Strengthen engagement in non-lending activities, including South-South and triangular cooperation, and (3) Need for better balance between operational supervision and implementation support, and national policy dialogue with federal agencies for scaling up impact and knowledge-sharing. 

The ten members of the Executive Board who visited the project are representatives from Angola, Argentina, China, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland.

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