13 February 2013

Tunisia - UN Loan and Grant Programme to Support Rural Youth and Women Farmers

The United Nations agency tasked with supporting agricultural projects in developing countries is boosting economic opportunities for rural youth and women in Tunisia through a programme that gives loans and grants to farmers and local communities.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today announced that it would extend a loan and grant of $11.4 million to finance the second phase of the Agropastoral Development and Local Initiatives Promotion Programme.

The programme "will intensify investment in infrastructure focusing on natural resource management and irrigation to improve agricultural productivity," IFAD said in a press release.

The agriculture sector makes up 8 per cent of Tunisia's gross domestic product and provides employment to 18.3 per cent of the national labour force, according to figures cited.

"In addition, the programme will promote local economic initiatives by providing assistance and resources in the form of access to microcredit, knowledge and training opportunities," IFAD added.

Some 13,200 households in the southern province of Tataouine and the central desert area of Kebili are expected to benefit.

In addition to funding from IFAD, the programme is co-financed by the Spanish Food Security Co-Financing Facility Trust Fund to Tunisia and by the projects' beneficiaries.

The financing agreement was signed today by Naceur Mestiri, Ambassador of Tunisia in Italy, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

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