The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said this week it will provide a US$22.23 million loan to Sri Lanka for improved irrigation infrastructure and crop diversification, and help create new market opportunities for smallholder farmers.
Asitha Perera, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD signed the loan agreement for the Iranamadu Irrigation Development Project.
To respond to the needs of smallholder farmers in the Kilinochchi district of the Northern province, the project will improve the downstream irrigation infrastructure of the Iranamadu reservoir. The reservoir, which has not been maintained adequately for many years, will be rehabilitated to increase its water-holding capacity. The project is expected to benefit about 7,000 households.
In addition, farmers will receive training on water saving management methods that include climate change adaptation and mitigation measures such as rainwater harvesting. This will enable them to use irrigation water more efficiently for sustaining their crops and contract farming. Women’s groups would also be formed and strengthened by offering training and development of vegetable production.
Infrastructure development is a high priority of the government to accelerate growth in the country.
Since 1978, with this new programme, IFAD will have financed 16 programmes and projects in Sri Lanka for a total investment of about $ 400 million benefiting more than 500,000 households.
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 specialised UN agency based in Rome – the United Nation’s food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 167 members from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).