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IFAD and FAO target small-scale agricultural projects facing challenges

$2.6 million grant to help countries manage public investments

Photo: ©FAO/Sailendra Kharel
The new initiative presents a more strategic approach to collaboration between the UN agencies.

2 October 2013, Rome – The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have launched a new joint project to help developing countries, particularly fragile states, manage public investments in small-scale agriculture more effectively.

The UN food agencies will co-finance the $2.6 million initiative focusing on countries where a lack of strong national governance means development projects can face serious challenges in delivering results.

Up to 15 projects in ten countries will be targeted over a two-year period, with priority given to projects that are already under way but that are encountering difficulties.

FAO’s Investment Centre Division, which leads the Organization’s efforts to generate increased investment in agriculture and rural development, will work with countries to improve their ability to plan and implement investment programmes funded by IFAD.

Kevin Cleaver, IFAD Associate Vice-President, Programmes, said: “Fragile states host the greatest proportion of poorly performing agriculture projects, and IFAD has found that the major problems consist of weak local institutions and weak local management. This co-financed project will address both the capacity-building and institution-building requirements of these poorly performing projects.”

Laurent Thomas, FAO Assistant Director-General, Technical Cooperation Department, said: “This initiative presents a more strategic approach to collaboration which will enable both UN agencies to better plan and significantly enhance the effectiveness and quality of their services to member countries. It will lead to better results and, ultimately, to a greater impact on the livelihoods of those targeted by the programmes.”

IFAD's Executive Board approved a $2 million grant for the project in September 2013, while FAO and participating countries will each add another $300 000 to the initiative.

FAO regularly works with its sister agency through the FAO-IFAD Cooperative Programme, which has seen over 300 joint operations worth almost $9 billion between 1977 and 2012.