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IDB financing will support 6,000 smallholder farmers in Uruguay

Program will spur higher incomes and productivity through adoption of new technologies; women to account for 20 percent of beneficiaries

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a $28.4 million loan for a program to increase the incomes of 6,000 small and medium-scale farmers in Uruguay. Some 1,200 of the farmers are women.

"The main benefits of the Productive Rural Development Program are measures to improve productivity through adoption of technologies that will increase the incomes of small farmers," said IDB project team leader Luis Macagno. "Despite the generally good performance of Uruguay’s agricultural sector in recent years, distribution of these benefits has been uneven," he said.

The program will focus on measures to improve productivity and strengthen institutions. Farmers will receive support to partially cover the cost of adopting new technologies in accordance with management plans. The farmers will select the technologies that best suit their production needs.

Among other things, the support will cover 50 percent of the cost of technical assistance for adoption of new technologies and for equipment and supplies needed to apply them. Technologies include better animal husbandry techniques, improved pastures, feed supplements, incorporation of organic matter in soil, localized irrigation systems, crop protection, and management and organization, among others.

In the area of institutional strengthening, the program will fund a plan for land management training for the Ministry of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development, as well as for rural institutions and organizations. Resources will also be provided to prepare strategic land development plans and the dissemination of information through the Internet to foster knowledge-sharing among rural development councils.

The program will also support workshops for people working on land management at the national, regional, and international levels, formulating plans for institutional strengthening of rural organizations, and monitoring and evaluation.

The loan is for a 25-year term, with a five-year grace period and a variable interest rate based on LIBOR. Local counterpart funding totals $4.9 million.

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