Sri Lanka and IFAD partner to reduce poverty and increase food and nutrition security

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The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with the government of Sri Lanka signed a financial agreement to launch the Smallholder Agribusiness and Resilience Project (SARP)

The project aims to combat the impacts of climate change on around 40,000 smallholder families. (Image Source: Adobe Stock)

Improving rural livelihoods, enhancing food security and building climate resilience in the dry zone of the country are essential for Sri Lanka to eradicate pockets of persistent poverty across the country. The development objectives of the project are in line with national priorities and essential to achieve the objectives sustainable development goals.

Sherina tabassum, IFAD Country Director for Sri Lanka, said: “We are increasingly seeing heavier and less predictable rains, heat waves and prolonged dry spells in Sri Lanka. Rural households in the dry zone are strongly affected by these climate changes. The farmers in these “hot spots” are very exposed and vulnerable and need our support. In collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka, IFAD will help them build their resilience, respond to climate change and link them to markets.

Most rural households in the dry zone depend on irrigated agriculture based on small reservoirs for their livelihood. Small farmers farming under these village irrigation systems are poorer and more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than farmers in drylands with access to major irrigation. Climate variability and extreme events further affect crop productivity and yields, pushing them further into poverty. To fill food gaps, smallholders have to buy food to feed themselves, which puts them more in debt and further hinders their ability to cope with climate risks.

The six-year project will mobilize climate-sensitive investments and work with smallholder producers to create and develop agricultural activities that are climate-resilient and part of inclusive value chains. The project will intervene in six districts of the dry zone, namely Anuradhapura, Vavuniya, Matale, Mannar, Puttalam and Kurenagala districts. Potential products include goats, dairy, chili, and fruits and vegetables, as well as more specialized crops like aloe vera and moringa – a wide range to mitigate the risks of climate change.

Producer organizations and watershed associations will learn to manage climate risks. Women, youth, group organizations and social enterprises will also benefit from support to run businesses in a financially profitable and sustainable manner.

With total funding of US $ 42.7 million, IFAD is providing a loan of US $ 41.7 million and a grant of US $ 1 million for the new project. In addition, the Government of Sri Lanka is providing US $ 12.7 million, to which is added US $ 13.2 million provided by the project participants themselves. The private sector will contribute US $ 1.7 million, while UNDP, WFP and UNOPS will also contribute US $ 8.8 million, US $ 2.6 million and US $ 0.3 million respectively.


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