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UN agency helps Côte d’Ivoire resuscitate war-hit agricultural sector

UN agency helps Côte d’Ivoire resuscitate war-hit agricultural sector

Korotoumou Troaré weeds  groundnut field in Foro-Foro village, then sell to the local market which helps feed her family
The United Nations agency responsible for financing agricultural development in poor countries has given $10 million to Côte d’Ivoire to help some 86,000 families revive a farming sector affected by the civil war that in 2002 split the West African nation into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south.

The agreement, signed in Rome by UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President Kanayo Nwanze and Ivorian ambassador to Italy Bah Jeannot Zoro Bi, will boost rice, manioc and yam production in the most vulnerable rural communities in Bandama Valley and North Zanzan savannah in Bouma department.

“It will provide small farmers with seeds for improved varieties of rice, manioc and yams at an affordable price and supply the necessary means to get their produce to market,” IFAD said in a news release, stressing that the targeted families comprise some 600,000 people currently living in deprivation.

“Priority will be given to women, youth and other marginalized categories so that they can resume their activities with a view to long-term development. Other families will benefit from the project, notably through access to better infrastructure.”

IFAD has so far financed eight projects in Côte d’Ivoire at a total cost of some $76 million.

A UN peacekeeping mission, the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), was established by the Security Council in 2004 to help ensure a ceasefire and pave the way for permanent peace and democratic elections following the civil war split.

Reauthorized repeatedly since then, most recently until 31 January 2010, it currently comprises nearly 8,400 uniformed personnel, as well as over 400 international civilian personnel. The continually delayed polls, last rescheduled for 29 November, have now been slated for next year.