US$57.7 million IFAD-supported small-scale irrigation programme will improve food security in Ethiopia

Release number IFAD/30/07

Rome, 13 June 2007 - More than 60,000 poor farming families in Ethiopia will benefit from a US$57.7 million small-scale irrigation development programme that will enable them to cope better with unreliable rains and frequent droughts, and to increase their food security.

The Participatory Small-scale Irrigation Development Programme will increase household incomes of people living on less than 30 US cents a day.

The programme will be partly financed by a US$20 million loan and a US$20 million grant from IFAD. The financing agreement was signed today by Ato Grum Abay, Ethiopia's Ambassador to Italy, and Lennart Båge, IFAD President.

The Ethiopian Government will contribute US$14.2 million towards the programme while participating households will provide an additional US$3.5 million.

The programme has three components: The small-scale irrigation component will improve catchments-area planning and develop irrigation schemes covering about 12,000 hectares. It will also reduce land degradation through better watershed management.

An agricultural component will promote seed production and establish home vegetable gardens mainly for women. It will also strengthen support for agricultural services and improve farming practices.

The institutional development component of the programme will empower rural communities by helping them to establish their own grassroots organizations. A legal framework for the country's water-users associations will be created to improve water-user rights and to enhance the role of women as decision-makers.

With this programme, IFAD has supported 13 programmes and projects in Ethiopia with a financial commitment of US$235.8 million.

IFAD is a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. Through low-interest loans and grants, it develops and finances projects that enable poor rural people to overcome poverty themselves. There are 185 ongoing IFAD-supported rural poverty eradication programmes and projects, totalling US$6.1 billion. IFAD has invested US$2.9 billion in these initiatives. Cofinancing has been provided by governments, beneficiaries, multilateral and bilateral donors and other partners. At full development, these programmes will help nearly 77 million poor rural women and men to achieve better lives for themselves and their families. Since starting operations in 1978, IFAD has invested US$9.5 billion in 732 programmes and projects that have helped more than 300 million poor rural men and women achieve better lives for themselves and their families. Governments and other financing sources in the recipient countries, including project participants, have contributed US$9.1 billion, and multilateral, bilateral and other donors have provided another US$7.1 billion in cofinancing.