The United Nations agricultural development agency has approved almost $300 million in loans and grants to back rural assistance projects in 16 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
After meeting last week at its headquarters in Rome, the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development announced on Friday it was awarding $284.1 million in loans and $2.5 million in grants.
The biggest individual loan – $30.2 million – will fund a programme in India’s Mid-Gangetic Plains region that will establish grassroots institutions to help women and girls obtain microfinance, business development services and access to productive resources.
The second biggest disbursement, comprising a loan of $27.4 million and a grant of $400,000, will finance a Ugandan programme to strengthen decentralization and local governance so that poor farmers in 13 of the country’s districts have greater opportunities to generate income.
In China’s Xinjiang Uygur region, a $25 million loan will form part of a wider $55 million programme to pilot and expand successful projects in areas such as technology, organic farming, marketing and microfinancing.
Argentina, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Eritrea, Haiti, Laos, Mali, Niger, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania and Turkey will also benefit from the projects.
Set up in 1977 in the wake of the food crises of the early 1970s that hit the Sahelian countries of Africa particularly hard, IFAD is a specialized agency of the UN dedicated to helping the rural poor in developing countries overcome poverty.