Rome, Feb 9 (IANS/AKI) The United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development signed a $39.3 million dollar accord with Tajikistan on Friday for a six-year project to cut poverty and propel economic growth in poor rural communities in the Central Asian nation.
Under the agreement, IFAD will make a $15.3 million loan and a $15.3 million dollar grant. The Tajikistan government contribution’s is estimated at $4.9 million while some $1.9 million is expected from private service providers in the agricultural mechanisation field, IFAD said.
A total of $250,000 will come from UN Food and Agriculture Organization co-financing and will contribute towards technical assistance and training of machinery service providers, IFAD said.
Approximately $1.6 million will be provided by beneficiaries of the project, which will be implemented over six years.
The project aims to reach over 48,000 households in Tajikistan’s Devashtich, Dusti, Jaihun, Norak, Rasht, Shahriston and Tajikobod districts, where poverty levels are high and there is potential for agriculture development, according to IFAD.
The project will incorporate a strategy to ensure women’s inclusion in community development and fair access to opportunities in the landlocked central Asian country, it underlined.
“IFAD’s support through this project is to improve access of communities to productive infrastructure and services leading to sustainable agricultural production and equitable returns,” said Hamid Abdouli, IFAD’s programme manager for Tajikistan.
“We hope to do this by strengthening village organizations, developing business-oriented farmer groups and building the capacities of both public and private service agencies to deliver goods and services to smallholder farmers.”
In Tajikistan, agricultural productivity languishes far below its potential, especially for key smallholder staples such as wheat, potatoes and apples. A primary cause of low productivity is the lack of access to modern technologies, notably farm equipment and machinery, IFAD said.
IFAD has since 2008 invested $80 million dollars in initiatives which have benefitted over 288,000 rural households in Tajikistan.