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01/08/2008

FAO helps develop new Agricultural Investment and Services Project in Kyrgyzstan

A new Agricultural Investment and Services Project (AISP) in Kyrgyzstan was recently approved for financing by the World Bank. Under FAO’s longtime collaboration with the Bank, Investment Centre staff supported the formulation, preparation and appraisal of this project, with David Lugg responsible for the design of the agricultural components and overall development support, and David Colbert overseeing the environmental assessment. An FAO retired expert worked on the integrated pest management/farmer field school (IPM/FFS) activities and several valued consultants served on the design team.

The AISP is a USD 23.8 million project, which includes a USD 9 million World Bank grant that aims to improve the institutional and infrastructure environment for farmers and herders with a strong emphasis on the livestock sector. An additional USD 4 million has also been provided to the AISP under the World Bank’s Global Food Crisis Response Programme. AISP has two major components: a) pasture management and improvement; and b) agricultural services, which include rural advisory and veterinary services, further development of community seed banks, and introduction of livestock farmer field schools. The project will be coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Processing Industry.

The AISP builds on the previous World Bank-funded Agriculture Support Services Project (ASSP) in Kyrgyzstan, and draws heavily on upstream work carried out as part of the Bank’s Livestock Sector Study. The Investment Centre provided technical input to the design and implementation of the ASSP, including FAO technical experts on plant quarantine and integrated plant management, and a consultant who helped design the national toxicology laboratory. The Centre was also involved in various aspects of the Bank’s Livestock Sector Study.

ASSP and AISP have benefited from multiple and diverse international financing institutions and donors. Both are multi-donor projects co-financed by the World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Parallel financing was also provided for ASSP by the British Department for International Development, FAO, Swedish International Development Agency and the European Union. The Investment Centre also organized missions for FAO technical experts which led to support being provided to the plant quarantine system through a complementary project funded by FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme and to the IPM/FFS programme through the Global IPM Facility. In addition, a Swedish-supported seed production project provided valuable technical assistance which further enhanced use of the funds provided through ASSP. Throughout the process, the Investment Centre played an important role in harmonizing these varied interventions.

This example in Kyrgyzstan illustrates the effective support that FAO can provide to developing countries by helping to establish the investment agenda together with governments and financing partners, to guide project design and implementation, and to prepare new investment operations. It also demonstrates the value of long-term and regular involvement of Investment Centre staff in the cycle of upstream sector work, project design, and implementation support. This work illustrates as well the varied technical experience and expertise that FAO can provide through in-house collaboration in investment activities seeking to improve rural livelihoods and food security.