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Rome, 30 January 2014 — The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a loan of US$43.8 million to the People’s Republic of China to finance the Shiyan Smallholder Agribusiness Development Project in Hubei Province. Of the total project cost of US$116.9 million, US$20.14 million will come from the Hubei provincial government, US$28.5 million from partner banks and US$ 24.46 million will be the contribution of beneficiaries by way of in-kind labour for operation and maintenance of infrastructure.

The project aims to sustainably improve the incomes and reduce the vulnerability of 255,000 households (approximately 1.02 million people), of whom approximately 110,400 households (approximately 442,000 people) will be direct beneficiaries. In addition, employment opportunities will be generated for approximately 26,000 people. The project area is mountainous and hilly. The main causes of poverty in the project area include: limited land resources, mountainous terrain with poor infrastructure, low level of development of agro-industries and frequent natural calamities, including drought and hailstorms.

Zhang Zhengwei, Deputy Permanent Representative of People’s  Republic of China to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, signed the loan agreement today.

With a population of 1.34 billion, China recently became the second largest economy in the world, and is increasingly playing an important and influential role globally. Yet China itself insists that it remains a developing country and that its market reforms are incomplete. In 2012, China’s gross national income per capita of US$6,091 ranked ninetieth in the world, and about 128 million people still live below the national poverty line of CNY 2,300 per year. With the second largest number of poor people in the world after India, poverty reduction remains a fundamental challenge.

The project goal is sustainable rural poverty reduction and improved livelihoods for small farmers involved in agricultural value chains in targeted areas. Its objectives are to empower the rural poor to participate in commercial farming, and to increase farm family incomes while decreasing income variability in target areas.

With this new programme, IFAD will have financed 27 programmes and projects in China since 1981 for a total IFAD investment of US$775.1 million, benefiting 5.255 million households.

Press release no: IFAD/05/2014

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested about US$15.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects reaching approximately 420 million people and helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nations’ food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 172 members from developing countries, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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