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UN aid to better Uttarakhand farm livelihoods

The $90 million aid will be utilised to develop food production system in the state by improving technologies for traditional food crops and livestock

United Nations: India is receiving a loan of nearly US $90 million from the United Nations to improve agricultural livelihoods in the small northwestern hill state of Uttarakhand, one of the poorest areas in the country.

The loan under an agreement with the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will go towards the Integrated Livelihoods Support Project, which aims to support and develop the food production system in Uttarakhand by improving technologies for traditional food crops and livestock.

"This project is a direct response from the Government of India to scale up successful rural development programmes in the state," IFAD stated in a news release, reports IANS.

The project will enable farmers to earn more by selling cash crops, according to the Rome-based agency. Production of off-season vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes and peas will increase and better marketing arrangements will be put in place.

The project, which will cover 143,000 households, will also introduce new crops and products such as nuts, spices, medicinal and aromatic plants. Among those expected to benefit are small rural producers, women, scheduled caste households and young people.

Although many households in Uttarakhand have land, the holdings are very small and the tiny terraced plots on steep hillsides make mechanisation extremely difficult, IFAD said.

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