IFAD to provide $20.5 million to boost sustainable agriculture in Dry Corridor in Nicaragua

News and Press Release
Originally published
View original

Rome, 29 November 2016 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Nicaragua have signed a financial agreement to boost sustainable agricultural production in the Dry Corridor, the area of the country most affected by droughts and climate change.

The Dry Corridor Rural Family Sustainable Development Project (NICAVIDA) will benefit 30,000 families in 58 municipalities. The project will focus, in particular, on women and young people. The total cost of the project is US$48.5 million, of which IFAD is providing $20.5 million. The other contributors are: the Central American Bank for Economic Integration ($15 million), the Government of Nicaragua ($6 million) and the beneficiaries themselves ($7 million).

The agreement was signed by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD; and Ivan Acosta, Minister for Finance and Public Credit of Nicaragua.

“Life in the Dry Corridor was never easy, but climate change has made things even worse and, unless we give small farmers living there the tools they need to adapt to increasingly dry and unpredictable weather, they will not be able to cope,” said Ladislao Rubio, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager for Nicaragua.

“In recent months, we have seen how bad things can be, not only for small farmers, but for the entire population living in the area. The rise in temperatures caused by the El Niño phenomenon made agriculture almost impossible, leaving more than 3.5 million people in Central America dependent on food aid to survive. The only way to avoid these food crises is to build small farmers’ resilience to climate change by investing in climate-smart agriculture,” he added.

The Dry Corridor is a strip of land that runs from Panama to Guatemala, along the Pacific Coast. The area is historically known by its low rates of rainfall but climate change has worsened the situation. In Nicaragua’s segment of the Dry Corridor, 52 per cent of soil is overused and 40 per cent is severely eroded. Falling production has led to food insecurity and a decline in household incomes in the region's rural areas.

The Government is trying to address the social, productive and environmental implications of this situation through the Dry Corridor Strategic Framework. In line with the Government's guidelines, the NICAVIDA project aims to improve the situation of Nicaraguan smallholders living in the Dry Corridor. The project will contribute to rural families' and indigenous people's resilience by promoting sustainable agricultural production. This involves training and technical assistance to enable small farmers to grow crops that are more likely to render bigger yields in water-scarce environments; to adopt measures to protect soils by avoiding erosion and overuse; and to put in place the best water-harvesting and water-saving practices.

An important aspect of the project is related to nutrition. Introduction of new crops or new crop varieties will aim to ensure small farmers' access to nutritious food and an adequate diet. NICAVIDA will not only work at the family level but will also focus on the needs of communities in terms of productive infrastructure, road improvement and investments in public services that will improve the living standards of people in rural areas and connect them to markets.

Notes to editors

For more information on IFAD’s operations in Nicaragua, please check here.

To arrange an interview with IFAD spokespeople, please contact: Juan Ignacio Cortés Communications Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean - IFAD Tel: +52 1 55 7495 6673

Press release No.: IFAD/75/2015 IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided over US$18 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 462 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.