By Shanta Rao

NEW YORK (IDN) – The UN’s 16 peacekeeping operations (PKOs), funded by a hefty $7.9 billion budget for the current 2016-2017 biennium, are in jeopardy facing threats of drastic cuts – and in some cases, even extinction.

The United States, the largest single contributor accounting for about 28% of that budget, has not only threatened to reduce funding, possibly down to 25%, but is also calling for a downgrading – or even the total elimination-- of some of the ongoing missions.

Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in March, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley gave an advance warning when she challenged the current state of peacekeeping operations.

- Photo: 2021

OPEC Fund Loans Uganda to Enhance Productivity for Smallholder Farmers

Newsbrief by Reinhard Jacobsen

VIENNA (IDN) — More than 120,000 smallholder households in Uganda’s northern and north-eastern regions engaged in the production and marketing of oil seeds (groundnuts, sunflower, sesame and soy) are expected to benefit from US$30 million loan agreement the OPEC Fund for International Development has signed with Uganda.

The ‘National Oil Seeds Project’, co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Ugandan government, aims at improving food security and incomes for the small holder households.

About 60 per cent of the beneficiaries are anticipated to be women. According to the OPEC Fund, young people between the ages of 18 and 35 will be involved in the project as producers, entrepreneurs and small-scale processors by providing them with various incentives such as access to farm machinery and agricultural training.

The Ugandan government’s latest Agricultural Sector Strategic Plan highlights oil seeds as part of the four strategic commodities expected to lead the transformation of the smallholder sector from subsistence to commercial farming.

Within the framework of this plan, the OPEC Fund’s financing will be used to develop infrastructure across 53 beneficiary districts and support the operations of approximately 200 oils seed clusters.

Works will include construction and rehabilitation of 2,500 km of roads situated in and around the oil seed clusters and installation of drainage structures, as well as road water harvesting mechanisms for crop and livestock watering.

OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “As Uganda recovers from disruptions related to Covid-19, agriculture becomes increasingly significant for the livelihood of the Ugandan people. The OPEC Fund is pleased to partner with IFAD and the government of Uganda to support this project, which will enhance agricultural resilience and improve food security.”

“Including the present loan, the OPEC Fund has committed more than US$221 million to Uganda under its public and private sector and trade finance lending operations. The funding has supported Uganda’s agriculture, energy, financial (SMEs), transportation, education and health sectors,” the OPEC Fund sources said.

The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. [IDN-InDepthNews — 30 July 2021]

Photo source: The OPEC Fund

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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