Ethiopia and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a $300 million agreement to increase access to financial services in rural areas of Ethiopia. The program benefits regions endangered by climate change. According to the release of IFAD, the program reaches 13million most vulnerable farmers ‘to increase and diversify their incomes,’ to provide access to financial services and build the recovery capacity of the farmers in the areas threatened by climate change.
Climate change brought frequent drought in Ethiopia for the past couple of years. A considerable mess happens because of climate change, especially in a country, 80 percent of the population engaged in agriculture. In 2017 rainfall shortage in Ethiopia led to a tragic loss of crops and livestock, and it left more than 8.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to IFAD.
The financing agreement for the Rural Financial Intermediation Programme III (RUFIP III) was signed by the president of IFAD Gilbert F. Houngbo and Zenebu Tadesse Woldetsadik, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.
“This new program will provide financial products and services to poor rural people in the least developed areas to promote poverty reduction and livelihood risk mitigation,” said Ulaç Demirag, Country Director for Ethiopia.
The program called RUFIP III focuses on five things. It will strengthen the capacity of rural finance institutions to deliver an expanded range of financial products and services to a large number of rural poor people; support the uptake of these products by rural savings and credit cooperatives and microfinance institutions through financial literacy training; It will also develop insurance products through the rural finance institutions to allow smallholder farmers to mitigate the risks related to climate change; promote nutrition awareness through campaigns and demonstrations, targeting the areas most vulnerable to food insecurity due to climate change; It will also help farmers and small enterprises to enhance their resilience to weather-related shocks.
The IFAD had benefited 12million rural households since 1980, through its agricultural development programs and projects worth a total of $2.1bn.