More than 190,000 people in remote mountain communities in one of the poorer parts of Algeria will benefit from a new US$40 million rural development project financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Algeria.
IFAD will provide a loan of about US$11.8 million. The loan agreement was signed Wednesday by the President of IFAD, Lennart Båge, and Mr Mokhtar Reguieg, Ambassador of Algeria to Italy and Alternate Governor to IFAD, at headquarters in Rome.
The seven-year project will tackle poverty in the Traras and Sebaa Chioukh mountains in northern Tlemcen Province , helping local people, including smallholder farming families, women and unemployed young people to raise their standard of living through a range of initiatives, including improved management of natural resources.
According to the latest figures, unemployment in the project area ranges from about 40 to 60 per cent, compared with the national average of 24 per cent, and is highest among young people.
The area was hard hit during the 1990s, when the security situation forced the exodus of part of the population from rural areas, worsening the poverty level in these mountains zones. As a result, many farmers lost their assets and equipment.
People who left have now started to return to the land they had abandoned, and one of the aims of the project will be to help them rehabilitate their farms. More than 10,000 households (about 60,000 people) will benefit from agricultural development activities, such as the rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation infrastructure and improved livestock production and husbandry.
Rural tracks will be repaired, linking communities to markets as well as to social and technical support services. Local people, especially smallholders, women and young people, will also get access to local financial services. The creation of rural microenterprises will help them to diversify and add to their sources of income.
Strengthening local organizations and administrations will be a focus of the project, to enable project target groups to take ownership of their own development initiatives in the future.