The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) and Louis Dreyfus Company BV (LDC) on Thursday signed a loan agreement of up to $100 million to help smallholder farmers recover from economic challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic and improve their resilience to the impacts of climate change.
The loan will support LDC’s operations in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam by financing stocks of coffee, cotton and rice for more than 50,000 smallholder farmers in these countries.
This will help secure food supply chains and reliable incomes for smallholder farmers, and offset the impact of supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, according to a statement released by the bank.
“Smallholder farmers, who are already vulnerable to climate change, are facing increasing hardship due to the pandemic, leading to loss of income, wasted crops and food, and supply chain disruptions,” said the AfDB Vice President for Private Sector Operations and Public-Private Partnerships. Ashok Lavasa said.
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“AfDB support will help ensure a reliable levy for farmers, providing them with a direct way to safeguard their livelihoods and assets, while enabling them to invest in climate-resilient agricultural practices.”
A related technical assistance (TA) grant will provide capacity building and training activities that will enhance the benefits of sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural practices for cotton farmers in India and coffee farmers in Indonesia.
The technical assistance will support pilot trials of drip irrigation in cotton fields in India and the use of biochar kilns in Indonesia. Technical assistance support is expected to benefit about 4,000 farmers, especially women farmers.
The TA funding includes $205,000 from the AfDB Special Technical Assistance Fund for Covid Recovery and $385,000 from the Strategic Climate Fund, administered by the AfDB.
“As a leading agricultural trader and processor, LDC is committed to empowering smallholder farmers, whose businesses are critical to global food security, to use sustainable agricultural practices to benefit generations. current and future,” said the Commercial Director and Director of LDC. Asia Region James Zhou said.
“With the right tools, knowledge and support, farmers can sustainably improve their yields and livelihoods while preserving the environment. We look forward to working with the AfDB to achieve this important goal.”
The statement adds that the AfDB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while continuing its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.