IFAD Supports US$26.38m Eritrea National Agriculture Project

IFAD's $17.28m grants to help improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers
IFAD supports project that aims improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Eritrea

By TesfaNews,

The UN agency, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has agreed to finance the US$26.38 million ‘National Agricultural Project’ in Eritrea with a US$17.28m grants.

The project is expected to cover a total agricultural area of 1.2 million hectares (ha) in 34 sub-zobas (regions) that spread across the country’s six zobas and three agro-ecological zones.

Over the six-year implementation period of the project, the US$17.28m IFAD Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF) grant will cover 65% of the project cost.

The Eritrean government will contribute 21% (US$5.4m) while the beneficiaries contribute the remaining 14% (US$3.7m) in the form of local currency, both in cash and in-kind.

The project’s development objective is to raise sustainably smallholder agricultural productivity by targeting poor and food insecure households, particularly to woman-headed households (WHHs), that are soon to be allocated around the hundreds new irrigation areas.

By 2017, the project is expected to result in annual incremental food crop production of 85,653 metric tonnes (mt) of grain and 9,000 mt of fruit and vegetables. It is estimated that incremental livestock outputs will reach 55 mt of poultry meat, 4.03 million liters of milk, 2.2 million eggs and 28 mt of honey.

Horn of Africa country Eritrea has been, so far, considered immune from drought and famine that the region is prone to. However, according to UN statistics, only 60% of the population is food-secure and this figure falls to 25% at times of low rainfall.

In recent years, the government has shown determination to tackle the primary constraints on the agricultural development in the country by taking a range of concerted action including but not limited to massive investment on agricultural infrastructures, availability of proven and affordable technologies, production and distribution of improved seeds, expanded and improved irrigation system coupled with a comprehensive approaches to soil and water management.

Despite the current natural resource boom in the country, agriculture will remain the mainstay of the economy, probably for a couple more years, accounting for almost 24% of GDP and almost all rural employment.

FAD Grant of US$17.28 million to Boost National Food Security in Eritrea

(Rome, 14 December 2012) – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$17.28 million grant to the State of Eritrea to help improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers with a particular focus on women in the country.

The financing agreement for the National Agriculture Project was signed today by Yohannes Tensue, Alternate Permanent Representative of the State of Eritrea to IFAD, and Kevin Cleaver, Associate Vice President, IFAD.

The agricultural sector in Eritrea employs nearly 60 per cent of the active population and contributes 24 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product. Since domestic food production does not meet national demand, Eritrea must import about half of its food requirement. In addition, agricultural productivity is generally extremely low and few farmers can afford to buy fertilizers to improve their production.

The new IFAD supported project will contribute to improve household food security and alleviate poverty in rural areas of 34 districts of the country’s 6 provinces and in 3 agro-ecological zones. It also aims to increase smallholder agricultural production and productivity and reduce the country’s dependence on food imports through the intensification of irrigated and rainfed crop production, and the provision of fertilizer and improved seeds to the smallholder farmers.

In addition, the project will promote investment in small livestock for the very poor people in rural areas with limited access to land and also develop a system to control the spread of pest and diseases and raise livestock productivity.

Co-financed by the government of Eritrea, the project will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the private sector. About 81,000 poor rural households, including 16,258 women headed households will directly benefit from the project. Households headed by women will be given priority in land allocation in new irrigated areas.

Since 1995, with this new project, IFAD will have financed six programmes and projects in Eritrea for a total investment of approximately $73.1 million benefiting 293,942 households.

US$ 12.6 million IFAD Grant for Development of Eritrean Fisheries Sector

(Rome, 14 September 2010) – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is supporting a grant in Eritrea with the goal of raising production and productivity in the fisheries sector, while conserving fish stocks and the marine ecosystem.

This grant agreement for the Fisheries Development Project of US$12.6 million was signed today at IFAD headquarters in Rome by Zemede Tekle Woldetatios, Ambassador of Eritrea and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

Eritrea’s coastal area, once home to a strong fisheries sector, has been destroyed by decades of war. The country has some of the few remaining under-exploited fish stocks in the world, however, little support has been provided to the country’s fishing communities to take advantage of these rich resources.

IFAD’s supported project aims to strengthen the artisanal fisheries sector and ensure sustainable resource management, this will contribute to reducing poverty by increasing the fishery sector’s contribution to the national economy, as well as improving food security in the region.

The project will reach about 6,000 households made up of poor artisanal fishers, foot fishers, women, young people and demobilized soldiers living in the regions of Assab, Massawa and the 70 villages along the Red Sea coast. Target groups will receive support to form cooperatives in order to access boats and equipment on credit. Training will be provided to fishers both men and women, to carry out shore-based activities such as net-making. They will also have the possibility of owning boats.

With this new programme, IFAD will have financed 4 projects in Eritrea for a total investment of US$ 55.8 million.

27 thoughts on “IFAD Supports US$26.38m Eritrea National Agriculture Project

  1. (Co-financed by the government of Eritrea) , the project will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the private sector

    1. Does this project take into account the concern of pastoralist communities? How are pastoralists benefiting from the development that is taking place in the country? I heard about 35% of the Eritrean population are either pastoralists or agro-pastoralists.

      1. You raised a good point Rez1947.

        In fact when I do the research to compile the above article, I came across the following and it answers your question very well too.
        Target group:
        The programme will target poor and food-insecure households. It will pay particular attention to woman-headed households. The programme's small livestock investments (sheep, goats and backyard poultry) will benefit:
        (i) women and woman-headed households;
        (ii) households cultivating small areas of rainfed crops (less than two hectares) or irrigated crops (0.1-0.25 hectares);
        (iii) pastoralist households with a maximum of five cattle and 10 sheep/goats; and
        (iv) landless and near-landless people (internally displaced people, expellees, returnees and demobilized soldiers).

        1. Thank you for the explanation. This is an excellent project as it address the concern of all marginalized and persistently poor communities in the country. I wish the government the best of luck in the implementation of the project.

          1. According to nationmaster data I read, Eritrea average grain output for year 1999-2001 was around 100 thousand Mt per year . And now for an investment of $26.8 million, we are looking at 'annual incremental food crop production of 85,653 metric tonnes (mt) of grain'. This is almost double the total grain output in 2001. This illustrates just how far we have come.

            And lets us not forget, Eritrea expected 8.5% ecomomic growth for 2013 is mainly coming from improved agricultural output (not mining)

  2. It seems the working relation between our government and IFAD relatively smooth. However, as $17million for a six year project is not big, the gove should prepare a number of other projects for funding. In the above article, the same IFAD assisted Eritrea's fishery industry with $12.6 million.

    We should encourage such assistance and relationship.

    1. Yes, but foreign loan/fund organisations are not to keen to approve loans, unless they get to 'spend' it themselves. This is the exception raher than the norm.

  3. The interesting part of this project the implementation and it is going to be 100% implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture (government). Imagine if this were a grant provided by the corrupt NGOs? First and for most they won't allow a total implementation of the project by the government as they would like to spend almost 80% of the cost on their salary and administrative costs.

    Of course they don’t like a project that takes well over one year let alone six as they do not even know they exist for next year. They are completely dependable on the mercy of the donors and those donors release money to these corrupt NGOs only they are ready to fulfill some kind of clandestine mission against the host country.
    (to be continued …..)

    1. Don't forget to add IMF. WTO, WB, USaid to your list of corrupt organisations. This entities have no aim other than to prop up corrupt governments so to embezzel the wealth of a country and in the process enslave its people. Look at Mobutu and Zaire as example. The IMF, in the name of the people prompted Mobutu to take hugh loans worth billions & billions of dollars , fully knowing he was the most corrupt man on the planet. All the money now gone alonge with Mobutu, Zaire has been forced to relinquish its vast mineral resources including Diamond and other precious minerals to the west, while its people live under abject misery.

  4. (continued ….)
    Remember how those defunct independent newspapers in Eritrea operate prior to 2000? The editor who publish a kind of controversial issue or critical of the government or an article that gives little concern to the dignity and national security of the people and country would get funds and material assistance. Those who works with in the tradition and law of the land get nothing. Such favoritism puts those liberal editors to turn wild and sometimes to invent a non-existing issue in order to appease those whity NGOs in exchange for a laptop and other material assistance.
    Now they are all gone and we are well of with out them. At least now we are in control of our projects and resources.

  5. A bit of digression from the subject at hand, but talking about laptop, let's refresh our memory on the project of collection and shipment of books and, perhaps,computers to Eritrea. What was the conclusion that we have reached? Someone in TESFA seems to have the experience fo coordinate and lead this project. Sorry Selam for the digression.

    1. rez1947, like you I have been thinking about it a great deal. Do you have any ideas how to go about doing it? What do you think if we do a small collection to start with? Let say, if we can get 10 people to volunteer to raise the equvalnet of $200 each, that is two thousand dollars. And depending on how much we raise, we can then use that fund to do something tangable with it.

      What do you think?

      1. I think raising money is the easiest part and I am , for example,ready to contribute the $200. However, what's more challenging is how to identify a credible institution at home which have the experience of channelling these kind of donation to where the need is the highest. The one who once responded to my message at TESFA could, perhaps, be the right person to help us here.

        1. I was following your conversation about helping with reading materials to students in eritrea at this website and it really amazed me how people are helpful and ready to do so for their brothers and sisters back home. Please Tesfanews admins do help us forming a group and by using this platform we can duscuss the project in a more detail and at the same time others who would like to help will join us. Can we do sonething? Please? Eritreans need someone to organize them and the rest they will take care of it. Can Tesfanews take tye leadership responsibility and lead us besides being the platform for the project. Please respond and thank you.

          1. a)We are waiting for the gentleman in TESFA, with the right experience, to agree to be in charge of coordination. b) When that happens, it is better to start the project with small group in line with Daniel's suggestion. This will help the initiative to start and grow on a strong foundation. c) Those who join should know that this is a long-term commitment. d) We should make sure that we are not duplicating what others are already doing and e) we should have a simple and transparent monitoring and reporting mechanism to ensure donor's confidence and to show that all donations have reached the intended beneficiaries and that there is no leakage of fund or resources to unintended beneficiaries. Therefore,f) we need to identify a credible organization which implement the project in the country as our partner . Lastly, sorry for posting this twice. It is due to sheer error.

          2. 1/2
            Hi Selam, it is great to have your support. From your comment alone I can feel your passion. God bless you sister. rez1947, please to hear your confidence we can raise some fund.

            Well, I have a proposal! What about if we fund a small project: to set up an English Language Class in Eritrea?

            My thinking is, if we raise a modest fund, we can then use that fund to buy an initial set up cost for teaching materials such books, DVD’S, Cd's, a large TV and possibly a computer. We can then approach a school, say in Asmara and ask if they would let us use/rent one of their class room for evening and weekend classes. We can then hire teacher to teach the classes. I don't know what the going rate is for teachers in Eritrea, but by my estimate NF2000 should be reasonable. Is that around $100 a month?

          3. 2/2
            The plus side is, if students were to contribute say NF100 a month, and we have 20 students per class, that in itself will generate NF2000. Assuming we have three classes going beginners/intermediate/advance (two days a week classes at 3hours each day), that itself is a turnover of NF6000. After paying cost of teacher, we are left with a surplus of NF4000. That can be used to pay the school rent. Then, if twenty of us contribute $100 a year that would be used to upgrading resources on annual bases.

            Assuming each courses would last, say 12 month that is 832 hours lesson for each students, for 60 students. And depending how things work out there maybe a scope to widen the project. Obviously, this is just a vague and if the proposal was to be implemented, then the finer details need to be worked out.

            Implemented, I think it is a real good idea, because English is a useful language to have, language is fun to learn, it will give students opportunity to network with like-minded people, relatively affordable to run…….

            What do you think?

          4. Its a good idea, but again what's critical to the success of this kind of a project is the person/institution which is going to manage it in Eritrea. Eritran Youth Association which have centers all over the country could be an alternative partner.

            However, I prefer the project to be outside Zona Maekel which is relatively better off than the rest. My relatives live in a one of the villages around Asmara and they are benefiting a lot of what is going in Asmara.However, I am open for discussion on this subject.

          5. I understand your point of view rez1947. However as a pilot project, in my opinion it would be necessary to try this in Asmara. Otherwise there will be too many 'variables' to take into account.

            As for managment of the project, the critical part is to find a teacher, who is able to multi task, i.e teach, administrat, organise….Based on the scenario I painted here, the total working hours of the teacher is 18 hours a week class room time. I am sure, he can find time to manage pretty much everything himself, with our support of course.

            I tell you what rez1947, I will be travelling to Asmara at end of January for a month. Let me see how things are back home and I will make a few enqueries. That will give us a better idea if this project is feasable. Would that be the sensable thing to do?

  6. It's great news to be granted this loan & if I may say so myself, it is for a
    very worth while cause. Implemented wisely, I am hopeful the project will go
    along way to improving the lives of people concerned, and in turn benefit the
    local community at large.

    It is also great to note, as Selam has rightly pointed out, that the fund will
    be implemented 100% by the ministry of Agriculture, meaning all the grant will
    go to where it is intended to go, rather than frittered away on overpaid
    foreign 'donor' organisation bureaucratese who don't give a damn about anyone
    except to pile their pockets with the poor peoples money.

    Bravo to our Government for not allowing this 'pests' to infest & infect our

  7. a) We are waiting for the gentleman in TESFA, with the right experience, to agree to be charge of coordination. b) When that happens, it is better to start the project with small group in line with Daniel's suggestion. This will help the initiative to start and grow on a srong foundation. c) Those who join should know that this is a long-term commitment. d) We should make sure that we are not duplicating what others are already doing and e) we should have a simple and transparent monitoring and reporting mechanism to insure that all donations have reached the intended beneficiaries and that there is no leakage of fund or resources to unintended beneficiaries.

Comments are closed.