Rural Moroccans set to gain from UN-backed anti-poverty project

IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze

15 March 2011 – Tens of thousands of poor rural Moroccans are expected to benefit from a new United Nations-backed scheme worth nearly $40 million that is aimed at dramatically boosting the production of olives, almonds, honey and red meat.

The scheme, backed by a $22.5 million loan and a $500,000 grant from the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is designed to reduce poverty and strengthen the local economy in Morocco’s mountainous Taza province.

IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze and Morocco’s Ambassador to Italy Hassan Abouyoub today signed a financing agreement for the $39.2 million agricultural value chain development programme in Rome, the headquarters of the UN agency.

IFAD is hoping that the scheme will promote more profitable agricultural commodities by adding value to them and making them more adaptable to markets, with honey production tipped to increase by as much as 200 per cent.

Mounif Nourallah, IFAD’s country programme manager for Morocco, said the project should also “enhance value-added at the farm level through processing, packaging and direct access to profitable markets.”

Local processing enterprises will receive assistance in developing their own labels and marketing channels for their products, while rural financial services will be strengthened as well.

An estimated 48,000 poor rural people – including many landless farmers and young unemployed – will benefit from the scheme, according to an IFAD press release issued today.


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