IFAD Proving the poor are bankable
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CTA. 1988. IFAD Proving the poor are bankable. Spore 16. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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There is no denying that credit is essential to most agricultural and rural development activities. Whether as cash or in kind, credit provides a strong incentive as well as practical assistance for small farmers considering the adoption of new...
There is no denying that credit is essential to most agricultural and rural development activities. Whether as cash or in kind, credit provides a strong incentive as well as practical assistance for small farmers considering the adoption of new technologies. When IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) was founed in 1977 as a direct outcome of the World Food Conference in 1974, a new and unusual agency came into being -one that has concentrated on helping 'the poorest of the poor' in rural areas of Third World countries. In the past decade IFAD has financed almost 200 projects in some 90 of the poorest countries of the developing world including many ACP countries. In its first eight years IFAD committed approximately $2.2 billion, funds contributed largely by the industrialized and OPEC countries. This has been matched by a further $7.1 billion committed for the same projects by other funding sources and the beneficiary countries themselves. IFAD-assisted projects range from credit for smallholder farmers and fruit growers in Dominica to credit provided to private operators in Zaire to acquire trucks to transport maize to urban markets. In Malawi small village-based farmers' groups with a membership of 30,000 have been assisted, involving a total population of 150,000. In Mali IFAD launched a five-year Village Development Fund project to help 160 villages, which has led to self-managed village association that developed health clinics and water systems reaching 90,000 people. In Kenya, women (who constitute 35% of all smallholder farmers) receive special attention previously denied under traditional extension services and likewise in Gambia women rice farmers have been major beneficiaries of credit to buy improved seed and fertilizer. One of IFAD's most successful and widely known co-operative ventures has been with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (see Spore No. 12 'A bank for the poor'). Today the idea of forming homogeneous groups of like-minded people to provide group security for credit is spreading: the Grameen Bank model is being considered in several other Asian countries and also in some African countries. In Mali, IFAD has also provided much of the $9 million Village Development Fund (VDFP) in the Sagou region, which makes low interest loans to smallholder farmers through Mali's Banque Nationale de Developpement Agricole. Not only has agricultural productivity increased, VDFP has encouraged villagers to improve standards of literacy and health care. While IFAD itself makes no claims to being so, the agency is arguably the most authoritative source of information on rural credit in the Third World and development projects involving the poorest farmers and the landless. Monitoring reports and evaluations of a wide range of projects in a great diversity of countries are available for Third World countries and institutions to access with the result that experience is shared and improved solutions evolved for some of the most intractable problems that face the poorest of the poor the millions whose human potential must be unlocked for the benefit of themselves and the community at large. For more details, contact: IFAD 107 Via del Sarafico 00142 Rome ITALY
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