Sri Lanka gets UN agency loan to help farmers

Feb 24, 2010 (LBO) – A United Nations agricultural development agency said it will give Sri Lanka a loan of 25 million dollars to help small holder farmers increase incomes. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), based in Rome, said the loan will directly benefit small producers, women, landless households and young people in rural areas.

“The overall goal of the programme is rural poverty reduction and improvement of livelihoods,” an IFAD statement said.

About 57 900 poor households in the rural areas will benefit from the programme which aims to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers by 20-30 percent.

Farmers will be involved in processing and marketing of their products like fruits, vegetables, spices, cereal, milk and dry fish.

The programme will provide business expertise so that farmers can take part in joint ventures as equal partners with the private sector, the IFAD statement said.

“They will have access to financial resources so that they can take advantage of emerging opportunities, building their own processing capacity and having better access to markets.”

Farmers will also be able to improve productivity