The World Bank (WB) has agreed to provide a total assistance of $40 million — comprising of $22 million loan assistance and $18 million grant assistance equivalent to Rs 3,480 million — to the government as additional financing to implement the Project for Agriculture Commercialisation and Trade (PACT).
Finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi and World Bank's country manager for Nepal Tasheen Sayed signed the agreement here today on behalf of the government and the bank, respectively.
The government has expressed its sincere appreciation to the World Bank for the assistance and also for its continued support in the socio-economic development of the country.
The objective of the project is to improve the competitiveness of smallholder farmers and the agribusiness sector in selected commodity value chains in the project districts by helping farmer groups and cooperatives engaged in profitable market oriented production. It also aims to improve access to markets, create and strengthen industry-wise partnerships along with the value chain, and reduce existing obstacles to agriculture and food trade.
The additional financing also removes the restriction of 25 districts, and now the project will be implemented in all the 75 districts, according to the World Bank. "The project will have a meaningful impact in developing a few commercially valuable chains," it said, adding that it will support with forms of matching grants to agribusiness proposals from farmer groups, cooperatives, traders and exporters.
It aims at reducing existing obstacles to agriculture and food trade, thereby increasing the ability of farmers and agribusiness to respond to food quality standards to meet domestic and international market requirements.
"The impact of the project will be an increase in productivity of the selected commodity value chains as it will be increased by 25 per cent. The volume of marketable agriculture products passing through the value chains will increase by 30 per cent, and market and sales of commodities in the value chains supported by the project will increase by 25 per cent."
The Ministry of Agriculture Development is the lead executing agency of the project that will be implemented in partnership with government agencies, private entities, cooperatives and farmer groups. With the additional financing, the project period has been extended to June 30, 2018.