April 20, 2011 – ALEKSEEVKA, Chui Oblast, Kyrgyz Republic, and MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala., United States – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $4.1 million to the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) to implement the Seed Assistance Voucher Program in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The program, which officially launched April 20, is implemented through the Kyrgyz Agro-Input Enterprise Development (KAED) Follow-On project jointly with the Kyrgyz Republic Ministry of Agriculture. The aim of the project is to increase agriculture productivity and farmer incomes through providing farmers access to improved seed during the 2011 two-month spring planting season and to promote market participation by more progressive smallholder farmers.
Supported under USAID’s Economic Development Fund, the program is providing seeds to approximately 30,000 selected farmers. An estimated 160 agricultural cooperatives and 81 seed enterprises in 42 rayons (districts) in all seven oblasts (provinces) throughout Kyrgyzstan will be involved in the program.
IFDC’s strategic approach is to use a voucher program, implemented in a market-based context, to provide targeted beneficiary farmers timely access to high quality seed procured from seed farms. Each participating farmer will receive a voucher that can be exchanged for a specified amount of seeds and fertilizer at the seed distribution point.
The Kyrgyz Minister of Agriculture, Torogul Bekov, praised the efficiency of USAID for the project’s rapid start-up and said that the Ministry looks forward to collaborating with IFDC in the implementation of the project. The U.S. Embassy Charge d’ Affaires, Larry Memmott, also spoke at the project launch.
Also attending the event were USAID Deputy Mission Director, Lawrence Held; USAID Cognizant Technical Officer, Daniar Ilebaev; IFDC Chief of Party of the project, Dr. Hiqmet Demiri; the Jaiyl Seed Farm Director and staff; and approximately 120 area farmers.
USAID’s KAED project has been operating in the Kyrgyz Republic since 2001 with a goal to stimulate growth in Kyrgyzstan’s agricultural sector by educating and encouraging farmers to adopt practices that will increase food production, animal health and rural incomes.
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