A new Rural Enterprise Financing Project (REFP) will cover more than 287,700 beneficiaries from 10 provinces involved in agriculture, fisheries and small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas. This initiative, which aims to improve access to national and regional markets, was launched on July 15 in Maputo, capital of Mozambique.
The project, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Mozambican government, was launched at a workshop that marked the beginning of its activities, involving project team members, government officials and IFAD officials, including Adriano Ubisse , National Treasury Director, and Robson Mutandi, IFAD Director for Mozambique.
Despite the opportunities created by the increasing demand for food, the rural population is often confronted with a lack of resources, services and access to markets. In addition, the main constraint is credit and banking services.
“IFAD is a historic and strategic partner of the Government of Mozambique, with interventions in agriculture, fisheries, rural finance and rural development,” Ubisse said. “REFP is a new intervention with an innovative implementation approach that will add value to all IFAD-supported projects in the country.”
The total budget for the project is US $ 72.5 million, including an IFAD grant of US $ 62.1 million. The project will be co-financed by the Mozambican Government ($ 4.3 million), the beneficiaries themselves ($ 1.1 million) and the private sector ($ 5 million).
In Mozambique, lack of access to financial services and technical resources is becoming an increasingly critical constraint for small farmers seeking to expand and intensify their activities. The REFP aims to increase the availability and use of adequate, affordable and innovative financial and technical support services, but also to help raise very poor rural populations to a bankable level, thereby improving education and financial capacity.
“The target group for this new IFAD-supported project is the poorest and most disadvantaged population and aims to ensure that rural financial services reach poor communities and financially excluded groups,” Mutandi said. “We are here to stay and work with the Government of Mozambique on the strategy of financial inclusion, without leaving anyone behind.”
Digital financial services for agricultural and rural finance products will be developed, while training will be provided to rural agricultural and non-agricultural entrepreneurs and support to institutions working with the rural population.
Since 1983, IFAD has funded 15 rural development programs and projects in Mozambique, with a total cost of US $ 664.3 million, with IFAD investment of US $ 428.0 million. These projects directly benefited more than 2 million rural families.