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Sri Lanka: UN agency funds irrigation improvement projects

Article / Review by on January 31, 2012 – 6:14 pmNo Comments

Sri Lanka: UN agency funds irrigation improvement projects

31 January 2012 – The United Nations fund tasked with promoting rural development will provide a $22-million loan to Sri Lanka to finance the improvement of the South Asian country’s irrigation infrastructure and crop diversification, as well as projects to expand market opportunities for smallholder farmers.

Farmers water spinach in their vegetable garden. Photo: IFAD/GMB AkashFarmers water spinach in their vegetable garden. Photo: IFAD/GMB Akash

The line of credit from the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will benefit an estimated 7,000 small-scale farming households in Kilinochchi district in Northern province by improving downstream irrigation infrastructure from the Iranamadu reservoir.

The reservoir, which has not been maintained adequately for many years, will be rehabilitated to increase its water-holding capacity.

The loan agreement was signed yesterday at the IFAD headquarters in Rome by Kanayo F. Nwanze, the IFAD President, and Ambassador Asitha Perera of Sri Lanka.

The funding will also be used to train farmers on water saving management methods, including climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, such as rainwater harvesting. Women’s groups will also be formed and trained on growing vegetable crops.

The latest financing brings to 16 programmes and projects funded by IFAD in Sri Lanka since 1978 at a total investment of about $400 million, benefiting more than 500,000 households.


US$22.2 million IFAD loan to Sri Lanka for poverty reduction

Improved irrigation practices will help increase crop yields

Rome, 30 January 2012

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$22.23 million loan to the Republic of Sri Lanka for improved irrigation infrastructure and crop diversification, and help create new market opportunities for smallholder farmers.

Asitha Perera, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, today signed the loan agreement for the Iranamadu Irrigation Development Project.

To respond to the needs of smallholder farmers in the Kilinochchi district of the Northern province, the project will improve the downstream irrigation infrastructure of the Iranamadu reservoir. The reservoir, which has not been maintained adequately for many years, will be rehabilitated to increase its water-holding capacity. The project is expected to benefit about 7,000 households.

In addition, farmers will receive training on water saving management methods that include climate change adaptation and mitigation measures such as rainwater harvesting. This will enable them to use irrigation water more efficiently for sustaining their crops and contract farming. Women’s groups would also be formed and strengthened by offering training and development of vegetable production.

Infrastructure development is a high priority of the government to accelerate growth in the country.

Since 1978, with this new programme, IFAD will have financed 16 programmes and projects in Sri Lanka for a total investment of about $ 400 million benefitting more than 500,000 households.


UN rural development agency says climate change and food security challenges ‘inextricably linked’

At Durban conference, IFAD President highlights potential of smallholder agriculture

Rome/Durban, 2 December 2011 – The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze, urged negotiators at the global climate change conference to recognize that “there is no trade-off between feeding people and saving our planet.”

“It is clear that food security and climate change, humanity’s two greatest challenges in the 21st century, are inextricably linked,” Nwanze said.

Nwanze will give a keynote address at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) event on 3 December, accompanying the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“Negotiators need to recognize the critical importance of enabling smallholder farmers to become more resilient to climate change and to grow more food in environmentally sustainable, climate-smart ways,” he added.

According to IFAD, the world’s 500 million smallholder farms will have to significantly increase their production over the next four decades to keep pace with a growing global population. And they will have to do it in the face of more frequent extreme weather events and shifting weather conditions brought by climate change.

Prior to his departure for Durban, Nwanze stressed that despite the slow pace of climate negotiations, IFAD is now seeing “significant, tangible changes” in developing countries towards sustainable agriculture.

“Out in their fields, farmers are already adapting to the changing climate and realizing that they must respect and preserve the environment if they are to feed their families and produce a surplus for markets,” Nwanze said. “And policymakers at the country level are citing the impact of extreme weather on their crop production and asking for climate change to be addressed in rural development projects.”

Noting that global investment in agriculture had dropped by half over the past 30 years, Nwanze said efforts should be directed at expanding public investment in research to build farmers’ resilience to climate change and to support their adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.

IFAD-supported initiatives in Burkina Faso, China, Ethiopia, Peru and elsewhere are showing success in helping poor farmers increase their productivity and incomes. These farmers make maximum use of natural processes, thereby reducing the need for environmentally harmful external inputs.

“There is already a scaling up of sustainable agricultural practices in many parts of the world,” Nwanze added.  “What we need now is a rapid acceleration of these changes so that smallholder farmers can successfully feed their families, connect to markets and contribute more to global food production.”


International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. The Conference was organized in response to the food crises of the early 1970s that primarily affected the Sahelian countries of Africa. The conference resolved that “an International Fund for Agricultural Development should be established immediately to finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in the developing countries”. One of the most important insights emerging from the conference was that the causes of food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production, but structural problems relating to poverty and to the fact that the majority of the developing world’s poor populations were concentrated in rural areas.

IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poorest people – 1.4 billion women, children and men – live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods.

Working with rural poor people, governments, donors, non-governmental organizations and many other partners, IFAD focuses on country-specific solutions, which can involve increasing rural poor peoples’ access to financial services, markets, technology, land and other natural resources.

IFAD’s mission is to enable poor rural people to overcome poverty.

* Official website:


> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.


* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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