US$25 million loan from IFAD to support Agribusiness Development in Sri Lanka

Rome, 23 February 2010 – A US$25 million loan to the Republic of Sri Lanka from IFAD will directly benefit small producers, women, landless households and young people in rural areas.

A loan agreement for the National Agribusiness Development Programme was signed today in Rome by Hemantha Warnakulasuria, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Governor to IFAD, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

The overall goal of the programme is rural poverty reduction and improvement of livelihoods. Approximately, 57 900 poor households in the rural areas will benefit from the programme which aims to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers by 20-30%. Farmers will be involved in processing and marketing of their products like fruits, vegetables, spices, cereal, milk and dry fish, earning from the sales of such products.  

The programme will provide business expertise so that farmers can take part in joint ventures as equal partners with the private sector. They will have access to financial resources so that they can take advantage of emerging opportunities, building their own processing capacity and having better access to markets. Increased on-farm productivity will lead to better farm-gate prices for their produce.

Sri Lanka was the very first recipient of an IFAD loan, in April 1978. Since then IFAD has funded 15 projects in Sri Lanka for a total investment of more than US$ 217 million. Of the four ongoing operations, worth about US$ 79 million, two represent IFAD's contribution towards the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the wake of the 26 December 2004 tsunami that devastated the livelihoods of many Sri Lankans.

Press release No.: IFAD/17/2010

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$11 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering some 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).