IFAD grant to improve food security in Afghanistan

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IFAD grant to improve food security in Afghanistan

US$58 million will focus on increasing agriculture and livestock productivity

Rome, 8 April  2013 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a grant of US$58 million to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the Community Livestock and Agriculture Project to improve food security by enhancing the skills, services and income opportunities of rural women and men.

The grant agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters by Zia Nezam, Ambassador of the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Italy, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

After almost 30 years of conflicts, Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than 70 per cent of the population considered food insecure. While the Afghan economy has recently grown in its trade and construction sectors, the agriculture sector continues to remain underdeveloped. The IFAD-supported project aims to improve agriculture and livestock productivity by building the capacity of community organizations and local government agencies to buoy locally-owned and led development. This will include strengthening weaknesses in the value chain to ensure small farmers are better linked to markets.

The project will be particularly focused on resettled and nomadic Kutchis as well as woman-headed households. It aims to increase the social and economic status of women by providing leadership and skills training to female producer groups. For instance, women working in the dairy sector will receive technical assistance such as on the hygiene and care of young animals, as well as business training. These kinds of trainings also will be given in greenhouse development, vegetable processing, horticulture and forage production.

The project, which will be cofinanced by the government of Afghanistan and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, will benefit 169,500 rural households in the provinces of Kabul, Parwan and Logar.

With this new project, the Fund will have financed two programmes and projects in Afghanistan since 2008, for a total IFAD investment of $82 million, benefitting 195,000 households.

Press release No.: IFAD/17/2013
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested about US$14.8 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects empowering over 400 million people to break out of poverty, thereby helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nations' food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 172 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).