IFAD provides US$16.6 million to improve natural resource management and adaptation to climate change in Yemen

Release number IFAD/03/08

Rome, 21 January 2008 – A new US$42.2 million project in Yemen will help reduce rural poverty by reversing the accelerating trend of natural resource degradation in five of the country's poorest areas.

The Rainfed Agriculture and Livestock Project will be financed partly by a low-interest IFAD loan of US$16.6 million. The loan agreement was signed today by Shaia Mohsen Mohamed Al Zindani, the Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to Italy and Kanayo Nwanze, the Vice-President of IFAD.

The project has three components, two of which will be financed by the International Development Association (IDA). The third component, focused on productive rural development, will be cofinanced by IFAD and IDA. This component will be implemented in 23 districts and will benefit directly about 185,000 poor households.

Natural resources are being placed under greater stress by rapidly increasing populations in the governorates of Al-Mahweet, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Lahej and Sana'a. The five governorates face drought and water scarcity as a result of climate change. Since the local economy is based predominantly on rainfed agriculture, the project will seek to upgrade and diversify agricultural production. At the same time it will use participatory natural resource management initiatives to help halt and reverse the accelerating trend towards resource degradation.

The project will also assist small farmers, herders, poor landless people and women-headed households to strengthen their processing and marketing systems. It will help them protect their assets, including soil, water, rangelands, seeds and animals, and increase their off-farm household incomes.

In addition, the project will introduce microfinance services and will promote the development of new microenterprises and income-generating activities. It will support efforts to secure greater access to markets and build more partnerships with the private sector.

"Activities under the project's farmer-based seed management system will involve farmers in the selection of drought-resistant local seed varieties and produce these varieties for commercial use by other farmers," said Abdalla Rahman, IFAD's Country Programme Manager for Yemen. "The project's programme of terrace rehabilitation and water harvesting will improve the ability of farmers to cope with climate change."

With this project, IFAD will have financed 19 projects in Yemen for a total of commitment of US$190.9 million.

IFAD was created 30 years ago to tackle rural poverty, a key consequence of the droughts and famines of the early 1970s. Since 1978, IFAD has invested almost US$10 billion in low-interest loans and grants that have helped more than 300 million very poor rural women and men increase their incomes and provide for their families.

IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency. It is a global partnership of OECD, OPEC and other developing countries. Today, IFAD supports more than 200 programmes and projects in 84 developing countries.