IFAD to Enhance Support Pilot Project for the Development of Mountain Agriculture in the Watershed Basin of Oued Saf Saf in Algeria

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IFAD to Enhance Support Pilot Project for the Development of Mountain Agriculture in the Watershed Basin of Oued Saf Saf in Algeria

Press release number: IFAD 11/02

Rome, 18 February 2002 – A USD 24.1 million project in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, the ‘Pilot Project for the Development of Mountain Agriculture in the Watershed Basin of Oued Saf Saf' will receive a USD 12.5 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). A loan agreement was signed today at the Fund’s Headquarters, by His Excellency Mr. Said Barkat, Ministry of Agriculture of Algeria, and Mr. Lennart Båge, President of IFAD.

The project will be located in the eastern part of Algeria, in the Tellian Atlas mountain range parallel to the Mediterranean coast. It will cover parts of four disadvantaged rural communes: Zardezas; Ouled Habeba and Es Sebt in the province (wilaya) of Skikda; and Zighout Youcef in the Wilaya of Constantine. The project area will encompass the catchment basin of the Oued Saf-Saf, upstream of the Zardezas Dam. It extends over a total area of 34110hectares (ha), of which about half covered by state-owned forests and collective rangelands. More than 17000ha are cultivated areas, mainly planted to fruit trees and cereals. The population of this zone is among the poorest in both wilayate 20% of the rural population live below the poverty line.

The objectives of the project will be to contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development and hence to better living conditions of the disadvantaged rural populations of the mountain zones of the wilayate of Skikda and Constantine. It will seek to do so by improving and diversifying sources of income linked to the development of sustainable systems of natural resource management. The project will be implemented over seven years and will focus on: (i) strengthening participatory programming and capacity-building of grass-roots organisations and provincial local public administrations through the promotion of local groups and associations and the training of their technicians and board members in participatory development; and (ii) creating socio-economic and productive assets to which beneficiaries have access. This will involve rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation; land reclamation; the concession of state land (excluding collective land) for fruit trees promotion; soil and water conservation; improvement of productivity and management of sylvo-pastoral ecosystems; improved livestock production; rehabilitation of existing rural roads and water points and creation of new ones; support to rural financial services, microenterprise development and improved marketing; and improved access by beneficiaries to ongoing national support programmes for the development of agriculture.

The project target group will comprise an estimated 3584households who are among the most vulnerable and marginalized of the 23600inhabitants in the area. Some 80% of farms range from 5-10ha under rainfed conditions. A particular emphasis will be on subsistence farmers, women and youths. The project will also target: (i)impoverished women heads of household to improve their living and working conditions; (ii) young out-of-school girls with some education who are willing to engage in off-farm income-generating activities; and (iii) young unemployed men interested in starting microprojects or acquiring training in agricultural and non-agricultural activities. Project activities such as the rehabilitation of rural and forestry roads, the dissemination of marketing information, the creation of rural financial services and support to local development committees will benefit, directly or indirectly, the majority of people in the project area. About 10000persons will benefit from agricultural development activities, including improvements in pastoral and sylvo-pastoral resources, animal husbandry and soil and water conservation programmes. All smallholders, rural women, landless people and local farmers’ organisations will benefit from support to the development of microentreprises.

To date, IFAD has financed 4 projects in Algeria for a total cost of USD 95 million and a total loan amount of about USD 48 million.

IFAD is a specialised agency of the United Nations with the specific mandate of combating hunger and poverty in the most disadvantaged regions of the world. Since 1978 IFAD has financed 603 projects in 115 recipient countries and in the West Bank and Gaza for a total commitment of approximately USD 7.3 billion in loans and grants. Through these projects, about 250 million rural people have had a chance to move out of poverty. IFAD makes the greater part of its resources available available to low-income countries on very favourable terms, with up to 40 years for repayment and including a grace period of up to ten years and a service charge of 0.75% per year.