Program that Benefits More Than 13 Million Farmers Signed

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Ena January 9/2019 A program that is intended to help more than 13 million most vulnerable Ethiopian farmers to increase and diversify their incomes, access financial services and build resilience in rural areas threatened by climate change was signed yesterday.

The new 305.7-million-USD agreement was signed by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Zenebu Tadesse, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.

During the signing ceremony, IFAD Country Director for Ethiopia Ulaç Demirag said, “access to finance is crucial for rural people, particularly those whose incomes are threatened by a changing climate to expand their businesses, and to take advantage of new emerging livelihood opportunities along agricultural and agro-industrial value chain.”

According to a press release of IFAD, “the new program will provide financial products and services for poor rural people in the least developed areas to promote poverty reduction and livelihood risk mitigation.”

The Rural Financial Intermediation Program III (RUFIP III) will build on the lessons and experiences of the first two phases of the program and scale up delivery of rural financial services tailored to the needs of the most vulnerable small-holder farmers, particularly women and young people.

It will also strengthen the capacity of the rural finance institutions to deliver an expanded range of financial products and services to a large number of rural poor people, the release stated.

Moreover, the financial support will benefit credit cooperatives and micro-finance institutions and small holder farmers as well as promote nutrition awareness, it was learned.

According to the press release, the funding includes a 35.1 million USD grant and 4.9 million USD loan from IFAD, with significant co-financing from international development partners and from national financial institutions.

The Government of Ethiopia contributes 51.9 million USD while the beneficiaries will raise 0.9 million USD.