Water management improvement efforts in Egypt get IFAD funding support

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ROME, Italy, Feb. 16, 2010 -- A new US$72 million project in Egypt will help small farmers maximize their efficiency in using scarce water resources and achieve significant increases in their crop production and incomes. The project will improve the livelihoods of more than 79,000 households of the poorest rural communities, including small farmers, landless, rural women and unemployed youth, in five governorates in Upper Egypt and the Egyptian Delta.

IFAD will provide a soft loan of US$ 47 million and a grant of US$1million to finance the project under an agreement signed at IFAD's headquarters in Rome today. Kanayo Nwanze, President of IFAD, and Ashraf Rashed, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to IFAD signed the agreement.

"The project will address climate change issues, by focusing on improving water management and developing drought resistant and heat tolerant crops," said Nwanze during the signing ceremony. "Results and lessons learnt from such demonstration projects will be scaled up and will feed back to the policy level to support effective mainstreaming of adaptation needs," he added.

At present, more than 70% of the cultivated areas in Egypt depend on low-efficiency surface irrigation systems, which cause high water losses, a decline in land productivity, water logging and salinity problems. The project will help reverse the situation by brining the cultivated lands in the project areas to operate water efficiency level of up to 70% by the time the project ends. The establishment and reinvigoration of established Water Users Associations, Community Development Associations, and Farmers Marketing Associations, will help the project achieve its objectives through targeted interventions, including improvements in the irrigation network and enhancement of agricultural productivity through an appropriate demand-driven research and extension system.

With this project, IFAD will have financed ten projects in Egypt for a total of commitment of USD 250 million.

About IFAD
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$11 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering some 350 million people to break out of poverty. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome -- the UN's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 165 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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