This grant from IFAD will finance efforts to increase the production, productivity and income of poor rural people in the project area in a sustainable manner. The households involved in the project represent about one third of the rural population of the three departments. Most of the households are engaged in in the local cassava-based farming system.
The project will work with target groups in poor villages within the production basins. The villages are isolated but they have agricultural potential and are well endowed with natural resources. The villages have a high-density population and established and dynamic farmers' groups. Project planning ensures that the most vulnerable groups will be included in activities and benefits.
The new Mid-Term Action Plan of the Ministry of Agriculture is contributing to a new era through this project by enabling farmers' interest groups to produce, multiply and disseminate improved, disease-free cassava planting materials and seeds. The project will provide training and agricultural extension services to give small-scale farmers full access to inputs and know-how. The project will also finance the rehabilitation of rural roads to provide sustainable physical access to production basins.
The design process involved several partners, including farmers' groups, farmers' associations and organizations, private-sector organizations, NGOs, local and national government services and bilateral and multilateral donors. The project will be directly supervised by IFAD and will work closely with the World Bank-financed Agricultural Development and Rural Roads Rehabilitation Project (PDARP) on rehabilitating rural roads, building community development capacities and providing technical services. The project will build on the Food Security Project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Among the innovations supported by the project are:
- mechanisms for promoting and disseminating new farming practices
- use of mobile phones and the Internet by small-scale farmers for relaying information about markets and prices
- direct involvement of Ministry of Agriculture Field Staff in extension services
- involvement of village economic interest groups in the production, multiplication and dissemination of improved cassava planting materials and seeds