ITALY – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has announced plans to substantially strengthen support for drought-hit Somalia to help small-scale producers cope with climate shocks and food insecurity.

The announcement was made by IFAD President Alvaro Lario, during the 46th IFAD session of the Governing Council in Rome.

In his presentation, Lario stressed the humanitarian assistance for IFAD to save lives now, as well as lay the foundation to ensure a brighter future.”

Lario said that IFAD is immediately making US$11.6 million available and mobilizing resources for a new US$50 million agricultural development project.

The project will provide seeds, irrigation, farming, and veterinary services, small microfinance loans, and training in climate-smart and adaptation technics to improve crop and livestock production.

The move follows the historic drought in Somalia that has continued to push millions into acute food insecurity demanding long-term solutions in the form of rural development, he said,

According to the integrated Phase Classification, 5.6 million Somalis are currently experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity, including 214,000 people considered in a catastrophe situation.

Projections show that as many as 8.3 million Somalis could face high levels of acute food insecurity between April and June 2023.

The 2023 Somalia Humanitarian Response plan, therefore, aims to assist 7.6 million people across Somalia this year. This includes preventing the loss of life of approximately 6.7 million of the most vulnerable people

In addition, Alvaro revealed that the drought-stricken country has cleared its debt with IFAD through member state support hence direct investments would resume after a three-decade-long suspension.

IFAD welcomes Ukraine as its 178th Member State

During the same meeting, IFAD Governing Council, the highest-making authority endorsed Ukraine as the 178th member state culminating a process that began back in 2016.

According to the statement, the membership comes into effect upon the deposit of Ukraine’s instrument of accession with the UN Secretary-General.

However, it was clarified that Ukraine will be fully integrated into IFAD’s next funding cycle, starting in 2025.

In the meantime, IFAD will explore ways to mobilize funds to support Ukraine’s rural development priorities, including the rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, and activities that help increase agricultural productivity, improve competitiveness and generate employment.

“We are delighted to welcome Ukraine as our newest member. Ukraine’s membership is strongly aligned with IFAD’s mission to ensure that all rural people, particularly small-scale farmers, are included and empowered,” said Alvaro.

“As one of the guarantors of global food security, Ukraine is still committed to contributing to global food security to defuse the food crisis and save millions of people from hunger despite the war,” said Yaroslav Melnyk, Ambassador of Ukraine to Italy.

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