International Fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD), specialized agency of the United Nations with headquarters in Rome, Italy. IFAD grew out of the 1974 World Food Conference; it was established in 1977 and has 165 member nations. The IFAD's mandate is to combat hunger and rural poverty in developing countries through agricultural projects that mainly attempt to improve productivity. The agency seeks to increase the rural poor's access to financial services, markets, technology, land, and other natural resources. Its varied programs, which introduce new strategies and expand existing techniques, are aimed at such groups as small farmers, landless rural residents, nomadic pastoralists, small-scale fishermen, and poor rural women.