Panafrican News Agency

Italy: Madagascar signs financing agreement with IFAD to boost food security

Rome, Italy (PANA) - Madagascar and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed an agreement Wednesday aimed at improving incomes and food security of smallholders in the Indian Ocean island.

According to a statement issued by IFAD, the two parties will work together to finance the Project to Support Development in Menabe and Melaky regions – Phase II (AD2M-II) at a total cost of US$56.7 million.

The funding comprises a US$34.4 million IFAD loan, a grant of US$6.0 million from the IFAD Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) Trust Fund, a contribution of US$7.7 million from the government of Madagascar and US$1.2 million from the beneficiaries.

Malagasy Minister of Finance and Budget François Maurice Gervais Rakotoarimanana and IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze signed the agreement in Rome noting that the project will also build on the achievements of its first phase.

" The ASAP funding will be used to strengthen and build smallholder resilience to the effects of climate change by improving and further developing irrigated agriculture, including spate-irrigation and natural resource management approaches," said the statement.

Meanwhile, IFAD Regional Director for the East and Southern Africa Division, Sana F.K. Jatta said: “Based on the positive results of the first phase, the AD2M-II will be expanded from 19 to 44 communes in seven districts and will help smallholder family farmers improve their production and marketing.

“It will also address land tenure security and safeguarding the land rights of smallholders so that they can invest more in their land and increase their incomes.”

The project will help smallholder producers organize into groups so they can negotiate better prices for their products. Eight new credit unions will be established to provide financial services and credit to producers, thanks to the new project.

The AD2M-II will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, targeting to reach 57,000 households, among which 22,000 households are already benefiting from the first phase of the project. There will be particular emphasis on women and young people from vulnerable groups.

During his visit to IFAD, Rakotoarimanana also signed a loan amendment agreement for an additional amount of US$17 million for the Support Programme for the Rural Micro-enterprise Poles and Regional Economies (PROSPERER).

The new funding will help to consolidate the gains made in the previous phase of PROSPERER while promoting access of rural micro-enterprises to financial services, strengthen training for smallholder producers and young people, and protect the environment.

Since 1979, IFAD has invested a total of US$265.5 million in 15 programmes and projects in Madagascar, generating a total investment of US$624.4 million, benefiting 694,600 households.
-0- PANA AR 21Oct2015