Poor To Get $10M in Loans

Nearly 40,000 poor families in Kampot and Kompong Thom will likely see better life, thanks to a Rome-based international financial institution that pledged to loan $10 million.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development has agreed to finance the largest part of a $22.9 million community-based rural development project in the two provinces, according to government officials. The rest is expected to come from co-finan­cers such as the German aid agency GTZ, Australia’s AusAid and the UN World Food Program.

An IFAD delegation led by country portfolio manager You­qiong Wang finalized this week a draft loan agreement with its Cambodian counterpart.

Ly Thuch, project director and secretary of state for the Rural Development Ministry, said that IFAD’s contribution is crucial to improve living standards of the country’s rural poor. “People in rural areas suffer from poor sanitation and poor infrastructure,” Ly Thuch said. “They are struggling to make a living.”

In this seven-year project, nearly 600 villages in two provinces are expected to see improvements in road access and water supply. Planned are twelve small-scale irrigation systems in Kompong Thom and three medium-scale waterways in Kampot. More than 200 km of rural roads will be developed with rehabilitation of drainage in 400 spots. Dozens of wells will be built to supply drinking water.

The packaged projects will also focus on agricultural development, providing domestic animal services and strengthening extension service programs.Villagers will receive training on how to plan and manage community development projects finan­ced by the donors, and learn more about environmental affairs and land titling issues.

Officials say the project will enable poor families to increase their incomes by at least 20 percent. Government officials said the loan agreement with IFAD will be finalized in January after its board approves the project. Other donors are also expected to approve financial aid packages by early next year.



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