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Infrastructure loan from UN agricultural fund to Republic of Congo will benefit 160,000

Infrastructure loan from UN agricultural fund to Republic of Congo will benefit 160,000

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A loan of more than $8 million to the Republic of Congo will help strengthen markets and financial services and improve agricultural production, benefiting tens of thousands of people in three provinces, according to an agreement signed in Rome today, the United Nations agricultural fund said.

About 15,000 households will benefit by taking part directly in project activities in the Rural Development Project in the Congolese departments of Niari, Bouenza and Lékoumou, while another 160,000 people will benefit from improvements in the physical and economic infrastructure, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said.

The project will be funded partly by an IFAD loan of $8.4 million and partly by $7.5 million in co-financing from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ Fund for International Development (OPEC Fund).

The new funds will be used to rehabilitate roads, improve access to markets and allow for the distribution of better quality seeds and planting materials, especially disease-resistant cassava cuttings. The project will also train farmers groups to boost their management and negotiating skills, IFAD said.

Although small farmers produce more than 90 per cent of the country’s food by traditional methods, less than 2 per cent of arable land is being cultivated and agricultural development has been neglected since the 1990s civil conflict, the Fund noted.