The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations agency for rural development, and the Government of Mexico have signed a pact to promote entrepreneurship among the country’s poor rural people receiving social benefits, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The agreement to be implemented under the aegis of Rural Productive Inclusion Project (RPIP), IFAD said, will take effect in 26 municipalities in the states of Guerrero, Hidalgo and Zacatecas and expected to benefit some 12,800 families.
The total cost of the project is US$19.5 million, with IFAD financing covering $7.1 million. The rest will be funded by the Government of Mexico and by the beneficiaries themselves.
NaijaAgroNet reports that the project is designed to facilitate the access of beneficiaries of the country's largest conditional cash transfer programme (PROSPERA) to public programmes aimed at increasing rural productivity.
The IFAD’s Regional Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, Tomás Rosada, explained that basic social assistance in the form of cash transfers allows people to live in a more dignified way. This project aims to go beyond that.”
“It will help transform the lives of poor rural people who are currently dependent on the State’s transfers and make them rural entrepreneurs, capable of making a living by themselves,” he added.
To address rural poverty in a more effective way, the current Mexican administration has made “productive inclusion” a key policy objective. One way of achieving this is through the creation of synergies between conditional cash transfers and productive development programmes, which is at the heart of the Rural Productive Inclusion Project.
The Project will allow local promoters to assist beneficiaries in identifying profitable productive activities, which could vary from organic farming to small rural businesses. These promoters will then facilitate beneficiaries’ access to technical assistance and productive investments, so that they can increase their production and improve the quality of their products, making them suitable for markets.
Despite efforts made in recent decades by the Government of Mexico, large segments of the country’s rural population still live in poverty. Family farms – subsistence farms, not linked to markets and extremely low in productivity– represent 51 per cent of farms in rural areas. Increasing their capacity to produce will both improve the lives of family farmers and boost rural economies as a whole.
“By supporting rural poor people who live on government benefits to set up agricultural and non-agricultural rural enterprises, the project will not only improve their lives but also, and more importantly, will do so in a sustainable way,” explained Rosada.
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