ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is set to receive $82m funding from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to enhance living conditions, livelihoods and income-generating capacity for 320,000 rural households.
IFAD will commence its ‘National Poverty Graduation Programme’ which is set to cover 17 districts, reported Dawn. The programme aims to target ultra-poor segment of the population living in rural areas.
IFAD’s funding is aimed at providing sustainable livelihood opportunities and a safety net. The agreement was inked in Rome on Tuesday between Pakistan’s Ambassador to Italy, Nadeem Riyaz and IFAD Vice-President Michel Mordasini.
Recipients of this programme will be provided support via business literacy training, skills development and access to credit. IFAD’s programme not only will promote economic empowerment to men and women alike, but give equal access to both sexes in participating in profitable economic activities.
A lack of an effective poverty graduation strategy is hitting the government hard which would enable it to lessen its current load of 5.4m BISP beneficiaries that results in $1.2b expenditure per annum.
This new programme aims to aid a number of ultra-poor families which need to be upgraded to next level of wellbeing, which would provide them opportunities with other major sources of help like micro-finance.
Country Programme Manager IFAD Hubert Boirard said “The programme includes social mobilization, livelihood development and financial inclusion components. It combines support for immediate needs with a long-term plan, shifting households out of extreme poverty by providing access to a package of assets that include social services, vocational training and interest-free loans.”
IFAD is providing funding of $82.6m out of a total cost of $149.8m being incurred on the programme. This programme stands in tandem with the country’s policies on social protection and poverty reduction, especially Government’s Vision 2025, which aims to decrease poverty by a half by 2025.
Graduation scheme under this new programme aims to accelerate change at grassroot level to bring people out of people. It will be dependent on BISP beneficiaries and utilize Prime Minister Interest Free Loan scheme to provide un-seamed service, which enables the poorest to move from consumption support to asset transfers and then interest free loans procured via micro-credit schemes.
IFAD has been providing funding to Pakistan since 1978 and supported 27 rural development programmes and projects. Its total investment since 1978 stands at $730m or $2.51b if Pakistan’s co-funding also gets included.