IFAD to Support the Sofala Bank Artisanal Fisheries Project in the Republic of Mozambique

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IFAD to Support the Sofala Bank Artisanal Fisheries Project in the Republic of Mozambique

Press release number: IFAD 15/02

Rome, 20 February 2002 - A USD 30.58 million project in the Republic of Mozambique – The Sofala Bank Artisanal Fisheries Project – will receive a USD 18 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). A financing agreement was signed today by Manuel Chang, Vice Minister of Planning and Finance of Mozambique and Mr. Lennart Båge, President of the Fund.

The programme will operate in 290 coastal fishing communities within the Napula, Sofala and Zambezia provinces. These are among the poorest provinces in the country, isolated and largely cut off from the nation’s overall economy. These areas lack communications, social infrastructure such as clean water supplies, health facilities and schools. A number of constraints face fisherfolk in their efforts to generate income. These include a lack of fishing equipment and finance to purchase it, non-optimal fishing techniques, competition (sometimes illegal) for the same resources from the semi-industrial fleet, poor fish-processing techniques and a lack of access to markets. Fisherfolk in these areas also lack the knowledge, skills and organization necessary to best manage their social and economic activities in an effective and dynamic manner.

The area targeted is home to 500 000 people. All are expected to benefit directly or indirectly from the project. The direct beneficiaries are the estimated 26 000 fishers and their families, for a total of about 130 000 people. In addition, an estimated 2 300 fish traders as well as fish processors, boat builders, craftspeople and artisans will benefit from the project. The project will help fisherfolk to diversify their fishing techniques in order to increase production and generate better income. It will encourage them to reduce post-catch losses and add value to their produce through improved processing techniques. It will improve cooperation with input suppliers and produce markets. The project will make available financial services, empower communities to take control of the planning, implementation and management of their own development activities. There will also be a health care component and actions to rehabilitate and maintain access roads. Women are expected to benefit from support for savings and credit groups, community health services and the provision of improved domestic water. Finally, the project will support the development of a policy framework better suited to the challenges currently facing artisanal fisherfolk.

To ensure that the project is successful, participation by the beneficiaries will be promoted in all activities. These areas include the development and testing of alternative fisheries technology, the implementation of community projects and the establishment of local committees for fisheries resources management, fisherfolk’s associations, savings clubs and water maintenance.

Cofinanciers of the Sofala Bank Artisanal Fisheries Project are expected to be the Belgium Survival Fund and the Norwegian Government. This is the seventh project in the Republic of Mozambique to be financed by IFAD, for a total loan value of approximately USD114million.

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.