- The head of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) wrapped up his visit in Côte d’Ivoire yesterday urging the country to strive for food security and to address the needs of the smallholder farmers and the rural poor.
Talks between IFAD’s Kanayo F. Nwanze and Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and other senior officials also focused on IFAD’s support to the government in dealing with high food prices and the country’s post-conflict situation, as well as investment in agricultural development programmes.
Among the projects that IFAD is helping to finance in the West African nation is the Small Horticultural Producer Support Project, which seeks to boost rice production.
Begun in 2001, the initiative is IFAD’s first thematic project focusing on small-scale irrigation related mostly to vegetable production and marketing in the region.
The Rome-based agency is also working with the government on devising a project to strengthen rice, cassava and yam production among rural groups made vulnerable by the global food crisis.
During the two-day visit to Abidjan, Mr Nwanze also looked at how to speed up the preparation of a country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP), a tool used to ensure that IFAD country operations produce a positive impact on poverty.
Designed through a process of wide consultations with a number of stakeholders, the COSOP reviews the specific rural poverty situation in a country, and is used for making strategic choices about IFAD operations in a country as well as identifying opportunities for IFAD financing.
Since 1984 IFAD has invested $66.7 million in seven programmes and projects in Côte d’Ivoire.
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, it has invested over $11 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering some 340 million people to break out of poverty.
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