The Democratic Republic of Congo has received USD$33.8 million funding from the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to finance the North Kivu Agriculture Sector Support project (PASA-NK) aimed at "raising incomes while boosting the country’s food security."

In press statement released today, IFAD said the project will target poor farmers and women-headed households.

According to the statement, the total cost of the project is estimated at just under US$53 million. The funding is comprised of a $16.9 million IFAD loan and an additional $16.9 million IFAD grant.

The government of DRC will contribute nearly $6 million while beneficiaries will provide an additional $3.5 million. In addition, the Government of DRC is seeking cofinancing of $9.7 million from other donors, IFAD said.

The agreement was signed in Rome by Henri Yav Mulang, Minister for Finance of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, according to the statement.

Smallholder farmers targeted by the project are those who typically cultivate less than one hectare, own less than five head of livestock, own rudimentary transportation and are widowed or women heads of households, the IFAD explained.

The project activities, according to the statement, "will focus on building the capacity of farmers, farmer’s organizations and provincial agricultural services involved in maize, rice, potato and Arabica coffee value chains."

"It will ensure that the agricultural services farmers receive from producers’ organizations are adequate and meet their needs," the statement added.

According to the statement, the project will improve smallholder farmers’ access to agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers and certified seeds, and their access to markets.

"It will assist farmers' organizations in building storage facilities and warehouses to assist farmers in selling their products at a higher price."

The project activities are expected to benefit some 28,400 rural households, the statement said.