The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Vietnam have signed a financial agreement to raise living standards and incomes of 30,000 rural households.
The organisation is providing US$43 million towards the $74.3 million loan, which is co-financed by Vietnam’s government (US$20.6 million) and the beneficiaries themselves (US$10.7 million). This agreement will benefit Vietnamese people living in the north-east of the country.
The financial agreement was signed by Kanayo Nwanze, president of IFAD, and Thien Cao Chinh, Vietnam’s ambassador to Italy.
The commercial smallholder support project in Bac Kạn and Cao Bang, which are provinces in Vietnam, aims to improve the access of farmers and rural labourers to commodity and labour markets. It also strives to increase the rural poor’s ability to adapt to the effects of a changing climate.
“The provinces of Bac Kạn and Cao Bang are among the poorest in Vietnam. People living there have almost total dependence on subsistence farming (self-sufficiency farming where the farmers grow enough food to feed themselves),” said Henning Pedersen, IFAD country programme manager for Vietnam.
“Approximately 90 percent of each rural person’s total spending goes towards meeting basic needs. These people are vulnerable to unforeseen expenses, climate shocks and the degradation of land and water resources,” added Mr Pedersen.
Vietnam has benefitted from substantial economic growth, and has lifted almost 30 million people out of poverty over the past two decades. However, economic development in the country has contributed to income inequity and environmental degradation. Rural areas have less than half the average per capita income of urban areas but almost three times the poverty rate. Agriculture accounts for more than 70 percent of employment in the project provinces of Bac Kạn and Cao Bang.
The project will support rural farmers to access finance, business and technical training, as well as improved infrastructure, such as rural roads, to support their access to markets and commodity chains, which increase the value of agricultural products.
There is significant market demand and commercial opportunities for improved quality and production of a range of agricultural products including forestry and non-timber forest products; meat, eggs and dairy; fruit, ginger, cassava and peanuts; as well as opportunities to develop ecotourism.