Panafrican News Agency

IFAD-backed projects boost agricultural productivity, incomes in Madagascar: Report

Antananarivo, Madagascar (PANA) - Rural development projects financed and supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have helped to reduce rural poverty and increase rural entrepreneurship in Madagascar, the UN rural entrepreneurship agency said on Thursday.

The UN agency said in a new report that it, together with the Government of Madagascar, has over the past seven years (2013-2019) covered six projects with a total cost of $510 million.

IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome, the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

It said in a report prepared by its Independent Evaluation Office (IOE) that of the $510 million, 59 per cent was financed by the agency.

IFAD-supported projects aim to raise the incomes and improve livelihoods, food security and living conditions of the world’s poorest people, who live in rural areas of developing countries.

In the years after the 2009-2012 political crisis in Malawi, IFAD-supported projects helped rural poor by providing them with the abilities and skills to improve their productivity and better capitalise on economic opportunities.

Several projects introduced innovations into Madagascar, leading to positive results.

For instance, IFAD was successful in integrating a large number of micro-enterprises and small businesses into high-value sectors by pairing farmers’ organizations with market operators, which improved farmers’ access to the markets.

According to the report, the creation of nearly 400 of these pairs attracted over $5.4 million in private sector investments.

“We are quite proud of our gains in Madagascar in terms of rural productivity, incomes and entrepreneurship. Linking farmers with market operators was key for improving economic opportunities in rural areas,” said Sara Mbago-Bhunu, Regional Director of IFAD’s East and Southern Africa Division (ESA).

The agency said it played a key role in improving access of rural entrepreneurs to productive assets, support services and financial services.

The report states that IFAD helped create networks of service providers, and collaboration and support platforms, thus contributing to the development of rural entrepreneurship.

 “Approximately 70,000 people benefited from training and outreach activities, which are essential for the development of our beneficiaries’ capacities and the dissemination of improved production techniques,” said Fabrizio Felloni, Interim Officer-in-Charge, IOE.

The agency says it has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience.

Since 1978, it has  provided US$21.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 491 million people.

-0- PANA DJ/MA 4June2020