Technical assistance

ADB, a French firm to support small farmers in Pakistan

MANILA: The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) and Louis Dreyfus Company BV (LDC) have signed a loan of up to $100 million to help smallholder farmers recover from the economic challenges caused by Covid-19 and improve their livelihoods resilience to the impacts of climate change, the multilateral lender said on Thursday.

“The loan will support LDC’s operations in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Viet Nam by financing the coffee, cotton and rice stocks of more than 50,000 smallholder farmers in these countries,” said AfDB in its press release.

The AfDB said this would help secure food supply chains and reliable incomes for smallholder farmers, and help offset the impact of supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic.

Ashok Lavasa, AfDB Vice President for Private Sector Operations and Public-Private Partnerships, said smallholder farmers, who were already vulnerable to climate change, were facing increasing hardship due to the pandemic, resulting in loss of income, wastage of crops and food and supply chain disruptions.

“AfDB support will help ensure a reliable levy for farmers, providing them with a direct way to safeguard their livelihoods and assets, while enabling them to invest in climate-resilient agricultural practices.”

An accompanying Technical Assistance (TA) grant will provide capacity building and training activities, which will enhance the benefits of sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural practices for cotton farmers in India and coffee farmers in Indonesia, the AfDB said.

He added that technical assistance would support pilot trials of drip irrigation in cotton fields in India and the use of biochar kilns in Indonesia, while technical assistance assistance should benefit to about 4,000 farmers, especially women.

The TA funding includes $205,000 from the AfDB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund for COVID Recovery and $385,000 from the Strategic Climate Fund, administered by the AfDB, according to the statement.