The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of India have signed an agreement to improve incomes and strengthen drought resilience for 165,000 farming households in the five driest districts in Andhra Pradesh.
The total cost of the project is US$148.8 million of which IFAD will provide $75.5 million.
ÂThe project aims to build smallholder farmersÂ adaptive capacity to drought. It will also help farmers shift to more diversified yet profitable cropping systems which require less water, as well as to diversify income and food sources by integrating small ruminants into farm production systems,Â said Rasha Omar, Country Director and Representative, IFAD.
The southern region of Andhra Pradesh is one of the areas in India that is most vulnerable to changes in climate patterns. For example, rainfall is low and unreliable, with frequent droughts. Soils have low water-holding capacity and groundwater is depleted. Soil fertility is poor and smallholder farmers often do not have access to improved and drought tolerant seed varieties. In the past, farmers have not had access to the information and techniques that would help them adapt to changing weather conditions and secure food for their households throughout the year.
The new project will help farmers to produce drought-tolerant crop varieties, manage soil fertility and moisture, and access weather information. It will also introduce practises such as harvesting and storing rainwater, managing rangelands to prevent overgrazing, and establishing backyard poultry-raising. The project area will include Anantapur, Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool (in the Rayalaseema region) and Prakasam.
A specialized United Nations agency and international financial institution, IFAD has financed 28 rural development programmes and projects in India since 1979, with a total IFAD investment of $1 billion or $2.75 billion when co-funding from the Indian government and others are included. These projects have directly benefitted more than 4.5 million rural households. The India country programme is IFADÂs largest and India is a leading contributor to IFAD and a permanent member of IFADÂs Executive Board.
IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$18.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 464 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome Â the UNÂs food and agriculture hub.