ETHIOPIA – International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Ethiopia have signed an agreement to fund the Lowlands Livelihood Resilience Project by injecting US$451m funded through a combination of debt and grant.

The financing agreement was signed by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and Zenebu Tadesse Woldetsadik, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.

The funding includes a US$90 million loan from IFAD and $350 million in co-financing from the International Development Association (80 per cent loan and 20 per cent grant) and $11million from the beneficiaries themselves.

The Lowlands Livelihood Resilience Project is aimed to increase resilience to climate shocks in the communities at the lowland areas of Ethiopia who are dependant on rain fed agriculture and pastoralism thus highly vulnerable to droughts, desertification and floods.

The project is primarily designed to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2 (eradicating poverty and hunger) will install small-scale irrigation technology to reduce dependence on erratic rains.

It will also help smallholder farmers to invest in research systems for faster adaptation to climate change and develop an innovative value chain approach to leverage private investment, productivity and win-win commercial linkages between local businesses.

It also aims to improve nutrition by providing education on food handling and food preservation and the production of more nutritious and diverse crops with access to bio-fortified seeds and technical assistance, including on post-harvest handling.

By strengthening rangeland and natural resources management, and improve the delivery of basic social services the project will also help mitigate conflicts over scarce resources in fragile pastoral and agro-pastoral ecosystems.

The project is set to cover the pastoral and agro-pastoral areas in the Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambela, Oromia, Somali and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ regions, reports APO-Group.

Since 1980, IFAD has invested $755.5 million in 19 rural development programmes and projects worth US$ 1.8 billion in Ethiopia. These have directly benefited around 11.5 million rural households.