Posted by: APO | 29 August 2007


Farmers and fishers in Comoros will benefit from new IFAD-supported programme that will curb environmental damage

Release number IFAD/37/07

Rome, 27 August 2007 – A new US$7.2 million National Programme for Sustainable Human Development in the Comoros will assist farmers and fishers to raise their incomes and food security. Much-needed natural resource management practices will be introduced by the programme to improve productivity for the 20,000 families living in poor, environmentally fragile areas of the islands of Anjouan, Grande Comore and Mohéli.

The National Programme for Sustainable Human Development will be funded largely by a grant of US$4.6 million from IFAD. The programme is cofinanced by the Global Environment Facility and the Comoros diaspora, which will contribute US$1.0 million and US$1.2 million, respectively. The grant agreement was signed by Lennart Båge, President of IFAD and Mohamed Ali Soilihi, Minister of Finance representing the Comoros Union.

As a country with a high risk of debt distress, the Comoros is eligible for IFAD grant assistance, which replaces loans with grants for those countries considered unsuitable to sustain debt. The debt sustainability framework is part of a unified effort on the part of the world’s biggest multilateral financial institutions to ensure that essential financial assistance does not cause financial hardship to those countries that are most in need.

In a country that has a high poverty rate and is heavily dependent on agriculture, the programme’s measures to rehabilitate degraded lands and coastal areas and introduce sustainable practices are expected to have far-reaching impact. Land erosion and silting of fragile lagoons have already reached alarming rates in some parts, and threaten the islands’ unique biodiversity as well as agricultural and fisheries productivity.

The programme will introduce a system of terraces and ‘live fences’ in water catchment areas to help preserve soil fertility and prevent silting. Over time these measures will also allow the marine resources to regenerate. Land rehabilitation interventions will be underpinned by the introduction of sustainable local land management practices and environmental conservation.

The programme will also help revitalize agricultural training centres under a new more efficient and participatory type of management. Farmers and fishers will receive training in new technologies for improved yields and product diversification.

The Comorian diaspora and their organizations will contribute funds to the programme, in partnership with the Mutuelles d’épargne et de credit ya komor (MECKs), which was set up by a previous IFAD project 10 years ago and is now the second largest bank in the country.

Benoît Thierry, IFAD’s country programme manager for the Comoros says, “There is an innovative aspect in this programme. Migrants and their organizations will raise funds for local development and become involved in community as well as economic projects. About one third of all Comorians are currently working abroad. In 2003 remittances sent back to the country amounted to a staggering US$36.4 million, not including the transfer of goods. We will support the channelling of some of that economic wealth into local development initiatives.”

The programme will initially be implemented in selected pilot areas, and then replicated and extended to other areas through a knowledge management and communication system.

IFAD has previously financed four loan operations in Comoros for a total commitment of US$11.8 million. All four programmes and projects are now completed.

IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. Through low-interest loans and grants, IFAD develops and finances programmes and projects that enable poor rural people to overcome poverty themselves. There are 195 ongoing IFAD-supported rural poverty eradication programmes and projects, worth a total of US$6.7 billion. IFAD has invested US$3.1 billion, with cofinancing provided by partners including governments, project participants, multilateral and bilateral donors. These initiatives will help about 86 million poor rural women and men to achieve better lives for themselves and their families. Since starting operations in 1978, IFAD has invested US$9.6 billion in 738 programmes and projects that have reached more than 307 million poor rural women and men. Governments and other financing sources in recipient countries, including project participants, contributed US$9.1 billion, and multilateral, bilateral and other donors provided another US$7.1 billion in cofinancing


  1. […] IFAD – COMOROSFarmers and fishers in Comoros will benefit from new IFAD-supported programme that will curb environmental damage Release number IFAD/37/07 Rome, 27 August 2007 – A new US$7.2 million National Programme for Sustainable Human Development … […]


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