New agriculture development project to support smallholder farmers in Comoros

By agency reporter
June 28, 2018

A new agricultural development project, which will assist 35,000 vulnerable smallholder farmers improve local food production and reduce reliance on imports, was launched on 19 Juneb2018 in Moroni, the capital of the Union of Comoros.

The project, financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Union of Comoros, was launched at a start-up workshop involving project participants, government officials and IFAD staff, including Moustadroine Abdou, Vice-President in charge of agriculture of the Union of Comoros, and Ibrahima Bamba, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager.

Agriculture is a major source of employment and income for rural people in the country, generating over 35 per cent of GDP. Even so, climate change impacts prevent farmers from increasing their production and reducing local reliance on costly food imports.

Operating in 48 villages, the Family Farming Productivity and Resilience Support Project (PREFER) aims to not only increase agricultural production and farmers’ ability to deal with climate change, but to raise their incomes and improve food and nutritional security.

“This new project succeeds various other projects initiated by the government and its partners to promote agricultural development in the face of climate change”, said Abdou. “I am convinced that it will yield tangible results in terms of reduction of food imports, job creation - especially for young people – and increasing the incomes of the smallholder farmers.”

PREFER aims to promote the development of production of local foods such as bananas, cassava and vegetables. This includes production for the domestic market while generating surpluses to increase incomes for smallholder producers. It will also strengthen access to rural financial services to enable smallholder farmers to invest in equipment and other infrastructure improvements for production and processing, in addition to addressing quality issues that will help them get better prices for their products.

“PREFER is aligned with IFAD’s strategy for small island developing states by supporting better performing, climate-smart family farming practices that are linked to markets and generate income”, said Ibrahima Bamba. “To contribute to the success of this project, a grant from IFAD’s ASAP fund will finance the environmental dimension and capacity building to help Comorian smallholders cope with the impacts of climate change.”

The financing agreement for PREFER was signed in July 2017 by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, and Said Ali Said Chayhane, Minister of Finance and Budget of the Union of Comoros.

The total cost of the project is US$10.6 million, including a $1.5 million loan and $1.5 million grant from IFAD, plus $1.0 million from IFAD’s Smallholder Agriculture Adaptation Programme (ASAP) fund. It will be cofinanced by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture ($0.5 million), the Government of Comoros ($0.5 million) and by the beneficiaries themselves ($2.6 million). The financing gap of $3.0 million will be covered from future IFAD financing.

Since 1984, IFAD has financed six rural development programmes and projects in Comoros at a total cost of $42.9 million, with an IFAD investment of $23.1 million. These projects have directly benefitted 60,855 rural households.

* The  International Fund for Agricultural Development is an international financial institution and a specialised United Nations agency based in Rome, the UN’s food and agriculture hub.


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