IFAD provides Burundi with US$13.57 million for agricultural recovery

Press release No.: IFAD/24/09

Rome, 14 May 2009 - The lives and livelihoods of poor rural people in Burundi are set to change for the better thanks to a US$13.57 million grant from IFAD to the Republic of Burundi for the Agricultural Intensification and Value-enhancing Support Project.

The grant agreement was signed today in Rome by Léopold Ndayisaba, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Burundi to IFAD, and the Assistant President, Finance and Administration Department of IFAD, Jessie Rose Mabutas.

A growing population and the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees have taken a heavy toll on land in Burundi. Population density in some areas exceeds 500 people per km?, the average farm size is shrinking, the soil is rapidly becoming degraded and nearly all public land has been distributed or occupied. Food insecurity and malnutrition are becoming chronic for many households.

The IFAD supported-project, PAIVA-B will directly reach 30,000 family farms and indirectly 60,000 farming families in the targeted provinces. Under local public-private partnerships, agricultural inputs, service suppliers and merchants will also benefit.

The main target group will be hillside farmers with less than 1 hectare of land and much of the work will involve developing 1620 hectares of new marshlands and rehabilitating a similar sized area in a sustainable manner.

The project will help to increase the yields of rice and other food crops, boost the income of poor farmers, improve their food security and nutrition, enhance the status of women and allow producers' organizations better market access.

With PAIVA-B, to date IFAD has funded eight rural development projects in Burundi for more than US$100 million, excluding other grants provided within the Fund's post-conflict support mechanism.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to increase their incomes, build their livelihoods and have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$11 billion in grants and low-interest loans, helping approximately 340 million people in developing countries worldwide. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome - the UN's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 165 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).