The United Nations' body on food and agriculture IFAD said it will invest over USD 75 million to mitigate drought in Andhra Pradesh.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of India have signed an agreement today to improve incomes and strengthen drought resilience for 1,65,000 farming households in five driest districts in Andhra Pradesh, the IFAD said in a statement.
Total cost of the project is USD 148.8 million and IFAD will invest USD 75.5 million into this.
"The project aims to build small-holder farmers' adaptive capacity to drought. It will also help farmers shift to more diversified yet profitable cropping systems which require less water," IFAD Country Director and Representative Rasha Omar said.
It will also help to diversify income and food sources of farmers by integrating small ruminants into farm production systems, Omar added.
Southern region of Andhra Pradesh is one of most vulnerable areas in India due to changes in climate patterns.
Rainfall here is low and unreliable coupled with frequent droughts, soil have low water-holding capacity and groundwater is depleted.
"In the past, farmers have not had access to the information and techniques that would help them adapt to changing weather conditions and secure food for their households throughout the year," the IFAD said.
The UN body said this project will help farmers in the region in producing drought-tolerant crop varieties, as well as help them manage soil fertility and moisture and access weather information.
Farmers will also be taught about harvesting and storing rainwater, rangelands management to prevent overgrazing, and backyard poultry-raising.
The project area will include Anantapur, Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool (in the Rayalaseema region) and Prakasam.
IFAD has financed 28 rural development programmes and projects in India since 1979, with a total IFAD investment of USD 1 billion or USD 2.75 billion with co-funding from the Indian government and others are included.
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