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YEREVAN, JULY 8, ARMENPRESS: The World Bank’s Board of Directors approved yesterday a new credit in the amount of US$20 million for the Rural Enterprise and Small-scale Commercial Agriculture Development Project (RESCAD) in Armenia, a press release by the World Bank said.

. With this four-year project, the International Development Association (IDA) credit will assist the government to support the development of Armenia’s small and medium-scale rural businesses by improving the ability of farmers and rural entrepreneurs to access markets and by stimulating market-oriented private and public investments in rural areas. `The agricultural sector continues to be a key sector for the Armenian economy with significant contributions to the country’s GDP and employment. The project aims to build on the positive development of the sector over the past few years and will assist the government to support the continuing development of the sector,’- said Frauke Jungbluth, Head of the World Bank team designing the project. `The project aims to stimulate economic development in rural areas by supporting commercially-oriented farmers and rural entrepreneurs.

The main target groups of the project are small and medium-scale farmers and rural entrepreneurs who would benefit from improved information services, access to finance, improved inputs and technologies, and support for marketing activities. The RESCAD project has been developed within the framework of Armenia’s Agricultural Sustainable Development Strategy. The project has a three-tiered approach with emphasis on the farm, agribusiness and community levels: The project consists of three major components: The Rural Business Support Component will focus on improving the link between production and markets for rural businesses. The component will aim to enable businesses to develop their supply chains efficiently, and to expand market opportunities through the provision of adequate financial services and targeted business support.

The Farm-Focused Development Support Component will enable farmers to improve their productivity, production quality and market access through a sustainable advisory system and by increasing availability of quality planting material. The Community-Focused Economic Development Support Component’s objective will be to stimulate economic development at the community level in selected rural areas through increased capacity of the communities to plan and manage their resources, and prioritize, fund and maintain key infrastructure investments with clear market linkages. The project will also be supported by a US$ 1.755 million co-financing Grant from the Japanese Government, supporting the capacity building and technical assistance activities of the RESCAD project.

The Credit will be made to Armenia on standard IDA terms, including 40 years maturity and a 10-year grace period. Since joining the World Bank in 1992 and IDA in 1993, the commitments to Armenia total approximately US$881 million for 39 operations.

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