AfDB approves Rural Youth Enterprise Project for Food Security in Madagascar

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved two loans amounting to US $24.55 million for Madagascar to help reduce the country's food insecurity and fragility.

The Mid-West Rural Youth Enterprises Project (PROJERMO), located in the Bongolava and Amoron'i Mania regions involves the establishment of enterprises in areas of activity and occupations linked to the production, processing, and marketing of agricultural products, as well as to the development and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure.

It comprises (i) the installation of 500 rural youth enterprises, 40% of which will be owned by women in sectors along the agricultural value chain (production, processing and marketing of agricultural products) and (ii) development of irrigated lowland plots covering a total area of some 2,200 ha for local farmers.

The investment is expected to deliver about 22,000 tonnnes of paddy rice, 8,000 tonnnes of groundnuts, and 28,000 tonnnes of maize per year

According to project documents presented to the Board, Madagascar experiences permanent food insecurity with an alarming 21.9 hunger index level, despite the country's huge and diverse agricultural potential. The documents cited the International Labour Organization statistics, which say that 70% of registered unemployed persons are youths, while six out of 10 unemployed persons are women. Besides, just over 40% of the country's workers with significant gender disparities are considered to be under-employed.

Ultimately, PROJERMO is expected to help improve food security, provide jobs to young people, as well as enhance women's inclusion and boost the local and regional economy so as to develop growth centres while taking into account the main fragility factors at national and local levels.

Some 500 rural youth enterprises, their families and the entire population of the 12 municipalities in the project area estimated at 186,500 inhabitants (of whom 51% are women) will benefit from the project. Above all, the entire country stands to benefit from the increase in agricultural production and food security. The project is also expected to generate 25,000 jobs annually.

The project, which will be implemented over a six-year period, is estimated at $38.72 million. The US $23.32-million African Development Fund loan and US $11.23-million loan from the Transition Support Fund will be used to finance the project, alongside contributions from the African Union and the government.

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