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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) will assist in tackling the prevailing food security and poverty challenges in São Tomé and Príncipe with a combined loan and grant of US $19.5 million approved by the Board of Directors on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The US $16 million African Development Fund (ADF) soft loan and the US $.5 million grant from the Global Environment Facility/Least Developed Countries Fund will be used to finance phase two of the country’s Infrastructure Rehabilitation for Food and Nutrition Security Support Project (PRIASA II).
The project will be implemented over a five-year period to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth while building human capital.
PRIASA II seeks to improve food and nutritional security in the country by increasing the supply and value of agricultural and fishery products throughout the year. With NGO support, the project will closely involve the farmers, fishermen and communities on the islands.
It will directly affect 16,000 farmers and 3,000 fishermen and wholesale fish vendors, of whom over 40% are women. Apart from basic infrastructure (roads, irrigation networks, markets, etc.), the project will disseminate new techniques on quality improvement, conservation, processing and marketing of produce. These activities will be accompanied by capacity building to develop the national expertise crucial to the management of these innovations from all perspectives (technical, health, legislative, etc.).
The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, situated in the Gulf of Guinea at about 300 and 250 kilometres off the northwest coast of Gabon, constitute Africa’s second smallest country with a combined 1001-sq. km land area and estimated 200,000 inhabitants.
Despite its fertile soil, abundant rainfall and considerable fishery resources, the country faces food insecurity and poverty. Over two-thirds of the population lives in poverty (71% of women) and over one-fifth experiences food insecurity. Among the small farmers, 68% live below the poverty line (US $2 /day). PRIASA II will modernise farming systems, improve conservation and processing conditions while addressing gender-disaggregated needs. It will target farming basins, with special emphasis on nutrition, value chains and employment for women and the youth.
PRIASA II is consistent with the “sustainable and balanced economic growth” pillar of the government’s second National Poverty Reduction Strategy 2012-2016 (NPRS II) which focuses on agricultural sector development and targets exports and food security, infrastructure improvement and climate change mitigation. It is consistent with the government’s gender strategy (SNEEG-2005) which focuses on the economic empowerment of rural and urban women.
The total cost of the project is estimated at US $20.69 million, comprising US $16 million ADF loan, a GEF grant of US $3.503 million and contributions from the government and beneficiaries estimated at US $1.1 million.
The GEF grant will mainly cover coastal erosion control, promotion of renewable energies, dissemination of water-saving irrigation techniques, pilot fish farming activities, as well as implementation of certain studies and awareness-raising actions.