Over 70% of the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty live in rural areas according to the Rural Poverty Report 2011, produced by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).  Improvements over the past 10 years have resulted in more that 350 million people being lifted out of extreme poverty, but global poverty still remains a largely rural phenomenon.

“The report makes clear that it is time to look at poor smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs in a completely new way – not as charity cases but as people whose innovation, dynamism and hard work will bring prosperity to their communities and greater food security to the world in the decades ahead,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze, IFAD’s President.

The report states that over the last decade the percentage of people living on less than 1.25 dollars a day has dropped from 48% to 34%. Dramatic changes in China account for  a large portion of the decline. The UN describes extreme poverty as living on less than $1.25 (80p) a day.

Essential to any rural poverty reduction strategy, said Heinemann, is understanding how to help poor rural people avoid and manage the risks they face – from longstanding risks related to ill-health and natural disasters to new and emerging challenges related to natural resource degradation, the effects of climate change, growing insecurity of access to land, and greater volatility of food prices.

For more on this story please see the BBC and IFAD.