IFAD approves US$204.39 million for rural poverty work worldwide

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IFAD approves US$204.39 million for rural poverty work worldwide

Executive Board concludes meeting in Rome

Rome, 30 April 2009 – Poverty eradication efforts in nine developing countries received a boost this week when the IFAD Executive Board approved more than $131.57 million in loans and $63.62 million in grants. The Board also approved $9.2 million in grants to international research centres and intergovernmental organisations.

A new Rural Finance Policy - which confirms IFAD's commitment to promoting increased access by poor and marginalized women and men to inclusive rural financial systems – was also endorsed.

Some 60 per cent of the Fund's ongoing programmes and projects promote rural financial services and institutions that connect poor rural people to the world and help them cope with shocks such as severe weather events and commodity price volatility.

"Protecting and increasing the access of poor rural people to financial services is all the more important as the global financial crisis bites and as remittances shrink," commented IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze.

IFAD's Executive Board authorised a $23.89 million grant under the Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF) for the Fund's first major programme in Afghanistan, to be implemented in partnership with the Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan.

This new programme - the Rural Microfinance and Livestock Support Programme - seeks to provide a broader range of microfinance services tailored to small farmers and facilitate access by those who cannot afford current interest rates. In Afghanistan's livestock sector the programme will help provide technology and inputs, including veterinary services.

"Despite the challenging security situation in many parts of the country, I am pleased that the Board has supported IFAD's decision to start a programme in Afghanistan to focus exclusively on a largely under-served segment of the rural population - smallholders and poor herders, the nomadic Kuchis and women-headed households," said Maria Donnat, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Afghanistan.

Projects approved by the Executive Board session:

Western and Central Africa - three projects - $59.16 million

  • Benin - Rural Economic Growth Support Project – Total cost:$47.78 million; IFAD loan:$8.96 million; IFAD DSF grant: $ 8.96 million
  • Burkina Faso – Rural Business Development Services Programme – Total cost:$25.2 million; IFAD loan:$8.1 million; IFAD DSF grant: $8.1 million
  • Mali – Rural Microfinance Programme – Total cost:$30.76 million; IFAD loan:$25.04 million

Eastern and Southern Africa - two projects - $26.77 million

  • Burundi – Agricultural Intensification and Value-Enhancing Support Project - Total cost:$31.6 million; IFAD DSF grant:$13.57 million
  • Ethiopia – Community-based Integrated Natural Resources Management Project – Total cost:$25.4 million; IFAD loan:$6.6m; IFAD DSF grant:$6.6m

Asia and Pacific - three projects - $95.46 million

  • Afghanistan – Rural Microfinance and Livestock Support Programme – Total cost:$26.12 million; IFAD DSF grant:$23.89 million
  • China – Sichuan Post-Earthquake Agricultural Rehabilitation Project – Total cost:$77.02 million; IFAD loan:$28.97 million; IFAD grant:$1.5 million
  • India – Convergence of Agricultural Interventions in Maharashtra's Distressed Districts Project – Total cost:$118.64 million; IFAD loan:$40.1 million; IFAD grant:$1.0 million

Latin America and Caribbean - one project - $13.80 million

  • Dominican Republic – Development Project for Rural Poor Economic Organizations of the Border Region – Total cost:$29.83 million; IFAD loan:$13.8 million

Grants approved by the Executive Board:
CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) institutions - $3.7 million

  • International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA): Programme on Improving Livelihoods of Small Farmers and Rural Women through Value-added Processing and Export of Cashmere, Wool and Mohair 3
  • International Rice Research Institute (IRRI): Programme on Enabling Poor Rice Farmers to Improve Livelihoods and Overcome Poverty in South and South-East Asia through the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE)
  • International Rice Research Institute, for the Support  to Agricultural Research for Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh (SARCCAB)

Other institutions - $5.5 million

  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): The Rural Hub: Supporting Rural Development and Food Security in Western and Central Africa
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): Smallholder Poultry Development Programme
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD): Programme on Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services in the Himalayas: Enhancing Adaptation Capacity and Resilience of the Poor to Climate and Socio-economic Changes
  • International Development Research Centre (IDRC): Knowledge Access for Rural Inter-connected People - Phase II (KariaNet II)
  • MERCOSUR Confederation of Family Farmer Producer Organizations (COPROFAM): Strengthening Rural Organizations for Policy Dialogue in South America

IFAD's Executive Board oversees the organization's general operations and approves its programme of work.  It consists of 18 members and 18 alternate members who hold three-year terms. The Board meets three times a year.

Press release No.: IFAD/22/09

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to increase their incomes, build their livelihoods and have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$11 billion in grants and low-interest loans, helping approximately 340 million people in developing countries worldwide. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 165 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).