IFAD, a specialised agency of the United Nations, has asked Pakistan to double its contribution from $9 million to $20 million into IFAD12 replenishment.
International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), a specialised agency of the United Nations, has asked Pakistan to double its contribution from $9 million to $20 million into IFAD12 replenishment going to be arranged next month.
With increased contribution, Pakistan’s concessional lending could be doubled in next cycle of three years from existing level of $115 million for new projects to address climate change in agriculture, improve productivity, promote further women’s empowerment, and strengthen agricultural institutions. In addition, IFAD has provided $8 million grants to Pakistan in the last four to five years. IFAD also allocated $4 to $5 million for COVID-19 response in Pakistan.
“Our total financing through mobilisation of co-financing with help of partners such as in case of Pakistan, the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and government of Pakistan contribute and overall financing crosses the $300 million mark. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is not co-financing at the moment because it focuses on large infrastructure projects at the moment” IFAD’s visiting Director Ashwani Muthoo said in an exclusive interview with The News here on Wednesday.
He said Pakistan is among 20 contributor into IFAD, so Islamabad should increase its funding, so that the overall size of cake could be increased. The loans provided by IFAD to Pakistan are on blend terms. Such loans have an interest rate of 1.25% and a 0.75% service charge. They have a 5-year grace period, with repayments to be done in 25 years.
He emphasised upon Pakistani authorities to allocate more budgetary resources for the agriculture sector and it was not happening in Pakistan and many other countries. “The investment is not up to the mark despite this fact that the majority of the population derived their livelihood from the agriculture sector” he maintained. There is a need to strengthen agriculture institutions and extension departments, he added.
He said that IFAD, so far, provided $3 billion for a total 29 projects in the last 40 years of association and currently four projects are underway. The four under implementation projects in Pakistan are related to Southern Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Balochistan and fourth one at national level for poverty alleviation programme. This poverty alleviation programme covers 23 poorest districts of the country, he added.
“Our focus is to support small land holdings or don’t have land and through projects we provided them access to inputs, small irrigation, capacity building of communities, access to markets their produce or made ups and providing women access to micro credits”, he added. He said that they are providing climate smart projects.
The main purpose of his visit, he said, was to engage in a dialogue with the Federal Government of Pakistan in relation to the ongoing IFAD12 replenishment negotiations. He held meetings with the secretaries and other senior officials in different ministries including Finance, Economic Affairs, National Food Security and Research, Foreign Affairs, and Planning. He underlined the importance of the IFAD-Pakistan partnership for promoting sustainable and inclusive rural transformation, and how IFAD-funded programmes could make a real impact on the productivity and lives of poor rural people in the various provinces of Pakistan.
Given that time is short to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, and that agriculture is a fundamental driver for economic and social prosperity in developing countries including Pakistan, IFAD is seeking to increase its programme of loans and grants globally and in Pakistan. This will require an increase in contributions from the 177 member states of IFAD including Pakistan.
Given the long and trusted partnership between IFAD and Pakistan for more than four decades, IFAD is seeking the support of Pakistan to double its contribution to around $20 million in IFAD12 by making a pledge in the final replenishment meeting in middle of December 2020. Pakistan’s contribution to the last replenishment of IFAD resources in 2017 was $9 million. Doubling of their contribution to the IFAD12 replenishment by the government of Pakistan will enable IFAD also to increase the volume of resources provided to Pakistan to address climate change in agriculture, improve productivity, promote further women’s empowerment, and strengthen agricultural institutions.
He said that IFAD was currently evaluating its 10 years partnership as it would form the basis for a new country partnership strategy.
Originally published at The News