US$45.7 million IFAD loan and grant to Malawi to boost food security in rural areas

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Rome, 24 January 2012 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$22.85 million loan and US$22.85 million grant to the Republic of Malawi to help smallholder farmers improve food security and reduce rural poverty in the country.

Brave Rona Ndisale, Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi to Belgium and the Permanent Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, today signed the loan and grant agreement for the Sustainable Agricultural Production Programme (SAPP).

Agriculture is an important sector for Malawian economic development. It employs about 85 per cent of the workforce and contributes nearly 45 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. Maize is the country’s main crop, but one-third of small-scale farmers also cultivate cash crops such as tobacco, tea and groundnuts. Promoting the agricultural sector and raising productivity are high priorities for the government.

The programme will support smallholders to improve agricultural productivity through the use of simple and affordable technologies. In addition, it will support smallholder farmers to gain better access to tools, equipment, seeds and fertilisers, financial services, post-harvest facilities, and improved market infrastructure.

Cofinanced by the government of Malawi, this new programme will be implemented in six districts identified by the government: Balaka, Blantyre, Chitipa, Chiradzulu, Lilongwe and Nkhotakota and will benefit approximately 200,000 poor rural households, including women and youth.

Since 1981, with this new programme, IFAD will have financed 11 programmes and projects in Malawi for a total investment of $164.768 million benefitting 1,435,950 households.

Notes to editors

  • The effects of climate change have been a major challenge for small farmers in Malawi for the past few decades. Increased droughts and floods have further aggravated food insecurity.

  • Smallholder farmers also face challenges in adapting to environmental shocks and require additional skills and knowledge, as well as access to credit in order to diversify their crop production to mitigate climate change impact.

Press release No.: IFAD/04/2012

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 about US$13.2 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 Nation’s food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 167 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

David Florentin Paqui
Communications Division
Tel: +39 06 5459 2213
Cell: +39 335 7516406