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Mexico to boost agricultural and fisheries productivity

$190 million IDB loan for program to reach fivemillion rural producers

The Inter-American Development Bank today approved a $190 million loan to Mexico to promote sustainable increases in agriculture and fisheries productivity. The Mexican government, through its Department of Agriculture (SAGARPA, for its Spanish acronym), will contribute $74.4 million, bringing the total investments to $264.4 million and benefitting around five million rural producers.

Resources will be used to strengthen food safety, to generate and transfer farming and forestry technological innovations, expand the capacity for marine and fisheries research, and achieve greater efficiency, quality and transparency in the support and services provided to producers.

“These investments will allow Mexico to raise its animal and plant health and food safety standards and make progress on its research and innovation agenda, within a framework of sustainable management of its resources and climate change,” said IDB natural resources lead specialist Nancy Jesurun-Clements.

About $70 million of the IDB loan will be used for the control and eradication of livestock and crop pests and diseases. A new facility will be built to double the country’s capacity to protect its growers and exporters from the Mediterranean fruit fly. Although Mexico has been free of this pest since 1982, trade liberalization and rising regional commerce has increased the vulnerability of Mexican agriculture.

More than $60 million have been allocated for farming and forestry innovation, which will benefit some 1.4 million rural producers. The expansion of scientific research by the National Institute for Forestry, Agriculture and Fisheries Researchwill result in greater access to better services to its producers.

The Producer Services Program will receive $31 million, which will benefit more than 3.4 million clients whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. SAGARPA’s system for support and service delivery will improve in terms of quality, efficiency and transparency. Bureaucratic procedures, which at present can take more than 60 days to complete, will be cut to 8 hours by 2013.

In addition, $26 million will be invested in biological and fisheries research, including the collection of fish stock data using state-of-the-art technologies.This information will be used to sustainably manage resources, opening up the potential for developing new fisheries that will benefit the entire value chain. Mexico has the world’s ninth largest maritime area.

The loan is for a 25-year term, with a three-year grace period and an interest rate based on LIBOR.