(CMC) – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says it is providing a US$30 million loan to help Suriname enhance its agricultural productivity, and improve the quality and availability of statistical data on its agricultural sector.
The Washington-based financial institution said that the objective of the Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Programme is to “increase agricultural productivity in Suriname through investments in infrastructure and management of irrigation and drainage systems and by improving the quality and availability of agriculture statistics.”
The project will directly benefit 2,200 small and medium farmers belonging to local water boards, as well as numerous other farmers.
“Improving agricultural statistics and information systems is essential to increase the quality and availability of information on the different parts of the agricultural sector in Suriname, including irrigated agriculture,” the IDB said.
It said since the latest agricultural census in Suriname was conducted in 2009, “substantial changes may have occurred in the sector resulting in outdated data.”
The IDB said the first component of the project will fund improvements to the operation and management of the systems in Suriname, particularly in the Nickerie District, by addressing current failings in infrastructure, and transferring key management and maintenance responsibilities to farmers organized in water boards.
“This component is expected to contribute to increasing productivity among producers of irrigated areas, and, at the same time, improve water management and use within I&D areas,” the IDB said.
“The project will seek to enhance the capacity of government institutions in charge of irrigation, water distribution and resource administration by including measures to improve the sustainable management of water resources for its different uses,” it added.
The IDB said the second component of the project will improve Suriname’s Agricultural Information System by enhancing the quality and availability of data, and by strengthening the operational and analytical capabilities of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Division of Agricultural Statistics.
“It is expected that this component will increase the relevance, and, therefore, the use, of agricultural statistics in public policy,” the IDB said.
It said the project will finance the costs to conduct a new agricultural census, technical assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture, analysis of the data and dissemination of results.
“The agricultural census will provide current, comprehensive and accurate information for Suriname’s agricultural sector,” the IDB said.