US$ 12.6 million IFAD grant for development of Eritrean fisheries sector

Rome, 14 September 2010 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is supporting a grant in Eritrea with the goal of raising production and productivity in the fisheries sector, while conserving fish stocks and the marine ecosystem.

This grant agreement for the Fisheries Development Project of US$12.6 million was signed today at IFAD headquarters in Rome by Zemede Tekle Woldetatios, Ambassador of Eritrea and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

Eritrea's coastal area, once home to a strong fisheries sector, has been destroyed by decades of war. The country has some of the few remaining underexploited fish stocks in the world, however, little support has been provided to the country's fishing communities to take advantage of these rich resources.

IFAD's supported project aims to strengthen the artisanal fisheries sector and ensure sustainable resource management, this will contribute to reducing poverty by increasing the fishery sector's contribution to the national economy, as well as improving food security in the region.

The project will reach about 6000 households made up of poor artisanal fishers, foot fishers, women, young people and demobilized soldiers living in the regions of Assab, Massawa and the 70 villages along the Red Sea coast. Target groups will receive support to form cooperatives in order to access boats and equipment on credit. Training will be provided to fishers both men and women, to  carry out shore-based activities such as net-making. They will also have the possibility of owning boats.

With this new programme, IFAD will have financed 4 projects in Eritrea for a total investment of US$ 55.8 million.

Press release No.: IFAD/56/2010

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 over US$12 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering more than 350 million people to break out of poverty. 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).