Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Small-holder farmers in Côte d’Ivoire to receive IFAD’s US$22.5 million grant

Ochieng' Ogodo


[NAIROBI] Small-holder farmers in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, especially rural young people and women will receive US$22.5 million from The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD to help improve food security and incomes.
The grant agreement for the Support to Agricultural Production and Marketing Project was signed in Rome on 16 March 2012 by Janine Tagliante-Saracino, Ambassador of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to Italy, and Kanayo Nwanze, President of IFAD.
About two-thirds of the population in Cote d’Ivoire is engaged in farming, forestry and fishing sectors. Agriculture contributes to about 24 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product with rice, maize, cassava, plantains, yams grown as staple foods, while cocoa, coffee, timber, rubber and palm oil are for export.
The country’s economy is still highly dependent on agriculture despite increasing importance of oil and gas production.  The poor rural people particularly small producers without access to appropriate technologies, services and markets have been left vulnerable by a long period of civil conflict and the new IFAD-supported project is expected to provide sustainable rural development in the context of a post-crisis environment in Savanes, Bandama Valley and Zanzan regions in the North.
To improve food security and household incomes in these regions, the project will enhance farm production by helping small producers to access improved seeds and mechanized equipment for tillage and harvesting.
The project, Cofinanced by the government of Côte d’Ivoire, will also support local processing of agricultural products through improved infrastructure and marketing, and will emphasize training and empowerment of smallholder farmer organizations. It is expected that the project will help smallholders move towards profitable, market-influenced farming, in which the market determines the investment strategy and production choices.
This new project will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and benefit more than 25,000 poor rural households, including women and young people.

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