UN agricultural fund approves over 110 million to combat rural poverty

At the meeting of its executive board last week, the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) approved US$8.3 million in grants to support farmers, farmers’ organizations, agricultural research and training programmes, along with $102 million in loans for rural development programmes.The loan of $29.2 million to China, for example, assists farmers living in remote areas of South Gansu province, where natural resources have deteriorated and there is only poor access to water for irrigation and drinking. The programme which will receive the funds will support irrigation, terracing, tree-planting and training toward improved farming methods.Another loan, of $19 million, aims to improve the lives of small farmers, traders and processors in Ghana who depend on roots and tubers for their livelihood. With women making up at least one-half of the beneficiaries, the programme will focus on both better production and marketing methods.The $8.1 million in grants are targeted to a wide range of programmes, including those supporting assistance to rural organizations in the countries of the Southern Cone Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR), improved management of indigenous trees and shrubs in the countries of the Sahel, and agricultural research and training in Eastern and Central Africa. read more