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.