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PRESS RELEASE

IFAD to support loan and grant to enhance sustainable agricultural growth in Nepal Quality-assured seeds and livestock development means better lives for rural women and men
Kathmandu, 2 December 2012 The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will extend a loan and grant of US$39 million to the Government of Nepal to finance the Improved Seeds for Farmers Programme (Kisankalagi Unnat Biu-Bijan Karyakram in Nepali) with the goal of promoting inclusive, competitive and sustainable agricultural growth. Madhu Marasaini, Joint Secretary, Foreign Aid Coordination Division, Ministry of Finance of the Government of Nepal, and Benoit Thierry, IFAD Country Portfolio Manager for Nepal, signed the financing agreement. Although there have been significant improvements in Nepals poverty level in recent years, it is still considered a food insecure country. Poverty is significantly higher in rural areas where 85 per cent of the countrys population live. The majority of rural women and men rely on agriculture as their main source of food, employment and income. Migration now affects more than half of all Nepalese families, with two million workers abroad, their remittances contribute for 22 per cent of the countrys gross domestic product. This has led to women increasingly taking responsibility for both household and farm management. The programme is a joint venture between the government of Nepal and IFAD to strengthen improved seed and smallholder livestock production and distribution by creating partnerships between small farmer organizations and the private sector. Through these partnerships, private seed companies will contract farmers group to produce truthfully labelled or quality-assured seeds for cereals and vegetables. The aim is to increase the incomes of about 150,000 poor rural households in six districts: Rolpa, Rukum, Salyan, Pyuthan, Gulmi and Arghakhanci. Poor women, indigenous peoples, and other vulnerable groups are expected to benefit from the programme. It is estimated that rural women will make up more than half of all beneficiaries.

The other component of the programme will support smallholder livestock commercialization in goat breeding and dairy production. This will include attention to breed improvement, nutrition and management, veterinary services development, farmer training, and market linkage development. With this new programme, the Fund will have financed 14 programmes and projects in Nepal since 1978 for a total IFAD investment of $198.2 million, benefiting 561 600 households.

Contact: Jessica Thomas IFAD Communications Division Tel: +39 06 5459 2215 j.thomas@ifad.org Press release No.: IFAD/71/2012 The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested almost US$14.3 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects empowering about 400 million people to break out of poverty, thereby helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome the United Nations food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 168 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).