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IFAD launches a new US$16.64 million programme to address rural poverty and water scarcity in Lebanon

Rome, 17 June 2010 – To tackle water scarcity, a major development constraint in Lebanon, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) launched a new US$ 16.64 million rural development programme. The Hilly Areas Sustainable Agricultural Development Project will help smallholder farmers and rural communities address the problem of increasing water scarcity in the areas of Akkar-Dannieh, North Baalbeck and Hermel, South and Lower Litani and Mount Lebanon.

IFAD will extend a loan of $4 million and provide a grant of $0.6 million to finance the project. The financing agreement was signed by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, and Dr Hussein Hajj Hassan, Minister of Agriculture of Lebanon, at IFAD’s headquarters in Rome.

To achieve its overall objectives, the project will introduce improvements in soil and water management and help develop small and medium-sized water harvesting and conservation measures. In addition, it will aim to improve market linkages for small farmers through the provision of technical support services, while strengthening farmers′ organizations and building local institutional capacities.

“To improve water-use efficiency and land productivity, the project will create opportunities for isolated and poor farming communities, including small farmers who incurred losses during the 2006 war,” said Abdelaziz Merzouk, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager for Lebanon. “It will enable the local communities to increase their production of fruits, vegetables and other high value crops; thus improving livelihoods by increasing incomes for their families,” he added.

Some 6,280 poor households will directly benefit from the project activities, which will focus on raising productivity, improving the quality of produce and lowering production costs for existing farming systems. With $ 8.4 million of cofinancing from the OPEC Fund for International Development, the Project will also help add value to farmers’ produce through post-harvest support services.

With this new intervention, IFAD will have financed four projects in Lebanon for a total investment of US$ 36.4 million.

Press release No.: IFAD/39/2010

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