Washington — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved $US50 million total in International Development Association (IDA)* funding to support as many as 120,000 small-scale farmers in ￼Côte d'Ivoire who grow five commodities with high national and international market potential: cocoa, rubber, oil palm, cashews and cotton.
"All five of these crops have excellent market demand prospects, are critical for poverty alleviation in rural areas and will boost Côte d'Ivoire's overall economic growth," said World Bank Country Director for Côte d'Ivoire, Madani M. Tall. "We look forward to this project's implementation as it will bring improved job opportunities and income increases to many rural farmers in Côte d'Ivoire."
Today's funds - a US$23.82 million credit and US$26.18 million grant - will support the government's Agriculture Sector Support Project, designed to support small-scale farmers who grow five of the country's most profitable crops: cocoa, rubber, oil palm, cashew and cotton. Project activities will focus on the most productive region in the country: the south-western region (Nawa) for cocoa; the south-eastern region (Sud Comoé and la Mé) for rubber and oil palm; the center-eastern region (Hambol and Gontougo) for cashew nuts and the northern regions for cotton.
"Agricultural development is a key driver for poverty reduction and economic expansion in Côte d'Ivoire and throughout the region," said Jamal Saghir, Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region. "The success of farmers participating in this project can lay the groundwork for innovative farming practices that can be scaled up to benefit the entire country."
Tools including improved seeds and fertilizers, production equipment, training, and better market access through rehabilitation of rural roads, will be targeted to meet the needs of each crop and growing region. Women are expected to make up 17% of the project beneficiaries.
"Poor access to markets is a significant obstacle for small, rural farmers," said El Hadj Adama Touré, Task Leader for the project. "Once the rural roads are repaired, total beneficiaries will reach an estimated 500,000 people throughout Côte d'Ivoire."
*The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world's poorest countries by providing zero-interest financing and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people's lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world's 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 1.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Between 2003 and 2013, IDA provided $256 billion in financing for 3,787 projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, benefiting on average, 36 African countries a year.