The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide the Republic of Guinea with a grant to improve the resilience of more than 2,123 poor farming households trying to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, by ensuring rapid access to inputs, information, markets and cash.
Despite its rich natural resources, Guinea is among the poorest countries in Africa. Low agricultural productivity, lack of wage employment, lack of access to financial services and poor rural infrastructure are all factors. Guinea has significant undeveloped agricultural potential. Soil and weather conditions are highly favourable to agriculture and just 25 per cent of potential arable land is being cultivated.
Guinean agriculture consists mainly of family farming focusing on food crops, mainly cereals (rice and maize), tubers and palm oil. The agriculture sector accounts for 20 per cent of GDP. Growing demand for food is sustained by demographic growth (2.5 per cent in 2016) and urbanization (38 per cent of the population in 2016 versus 33 per cent in 2006).
IFAD’s Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) will allocate US$ 530,840 to Guinea to support activities of rural producers by supporting production and value chains and market access. The project will provide beneficiaries with agricultural inputs, basic agricultural equipment for food production and processing, technical assistance and training for increased productivity. The target beneficiaries will also receive production kits consisting of seeds (rice, maize and vegetables), fertilisers and plant protection products.
“This grant to Guinea demonstrates IFAD’s commitment to support the Guinean government in addressing the impacts of the Covid19 pandemic on Guinean populations, particularly those living in the most remote and vulnerable communities,” said Haoua Sienta, IFAD Country Director for Guinea.
In Guinea, women and young people are among the most vulnerable members of the rural population. Women take on various roles within agriculture, from production and processing to small-scale commerce. However, while they are legally recognized as equal to men, rural women are still disadvantaged.
They have limited access to agricultural inputs, technical advice, improved technologies, land ownership and decision-making. Only 22 per cent of adult women are literate, compared with 44 per cent of men. This low level of education among rural women directly affects their ability to access information, agricultural extension services and other production needs.
The project will establish a mechanism to promote access to financial resources for youth and women in rural Guinea. The intervention will promote rural entrepreneurship to include youth and women in the development of their communities, and attract unemployed young graduates and returning migrants into agriculture, as has already happened through the National Programme to Support Agricultural Value Chain Actors (PNAAFA).
The grant related activities will also aim to support 450 micro-projects of small producers, youth cooperatives with profitable and market-oriented activities based on the business plan provided. They will also provide support by investing money into rural financial service providers and the umbrella federation of financial service associations that IFAD has helped create and strengthen over past decades.
The Family Farming, Resilience and Markets Project in Upper and Middle Guinea (AgriFARM) management unit that is already operational will coordinate the project under the new grant. This reduces management costs and ensures synergy between activities. This unit will also ensure close collaboration with local implementing partners and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Since 1980, IFAD has invested US$206.2 million in 14 projects in Guinea, with a total cost of US$443.8 million, which have directly benefited 651,450 rural households.