.- Today the Holy Father praised members of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for their efforts in reducing poverty in rural areas of the world. He told the organization, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, that love must be the primary motivator in the war against poverty.
Expressing his thanks for IFADâs 30 years of work, Pope Benedict said that it is especially important in the face of great âinstability in the prices of agricultural products.â He specifically noted one of the groupâs endeavors called the ârural creditâ project which helps smallholder farmers with no land of their own. Projects such as these, the Pope noted âcan boost the wider economy and provide greater food security for all.â
Additionally, he added, IFADâs efforts also assist native communities by helping them âflourish on their own soilâ instead of forcing them to uproot âin order to seek employment in overcrowded cities, teeming with social problems, where they often have to endure squalid living conditions."
These programs are particularly helpful because all too often, those who work in agriculture are exploited, the Pope noted. This happens when âtheir produce is diverted to distant markets, with little or no resulting benefit for the local community itself."
Looking at the current state of world affairs, the Holy Father reminded the group that there is a need for ârenewed determination to act in harmony and solidarity with all the different elements of the human family in order to ensure equitable access to the earth's resources now and in the future."
To do this, we must be motivated by love, explained the Pontiff. âLove for the poor, love that cannot tolerate injustice or deprivation, love that refuses to rest until poverty and hunger are banished from our midst.â
The Pontiff finished his remarks by saying that ridding the world of extreme poverty and hunger is âfar from being over-ambitious or unrealistic,â but rather should be a requirement of the entire international community.