Nearly 58,000 farming households in Sri Lanka are expected to benefit from a United Nations-funded programme designed to improve their livelihoods, boost their incomes and enhance their participation in the marketing and selling of their products.
The $25 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will enable the country’s National Agribusiness Development Programme to help small producers, women, landless households and young people in rural areas.
Among the programme’s goals is to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers by 20 to 30 per cent, and help farmers become directly involved in processing and marketing their products such as fruits, vegetables, spices, cereal, milk and dry fish.
“The programme will provide business expertise so that farmers can take part in joint ventures as equal partners with the private sector,” IFAD stated in a news release.
“They will have access to financial resources so that they can take advantage of emerging opportunities, building their own processing capacity and having better access to markets. Increased on-farm productivity will lead to better farm-gate prices for their produce,” the Rome-based agency noted.
Sri Lanka was the very first recipient of an IFAD loan, in April 1978, and since then the agency has funded 15 projects in the South Asian nation for a total investment of more than $217 million.