Kazakhstan’s rural dwellers to receive loans for businesses that contribute to conservation of biodiversity
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM Second phase of the Eco-Damu Loan Program (the Program) for the period of 2020-2024 was launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kazakhstan, jointly with the Forestry and Wildlife Committee of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan (the Ministry) and the Fund of Financial Support for Agriculture (the Fund).
The Program is designed for rural dwellers of Kazakhstan who live near specially protected natural areas to launch or further develop environmentally friendly businesses that contribute to sustainable preservation of ecosystems. The businesses should fall under areas such as ecotourism, forestry, fishing, hunting and pasture farming, poultry farming, rabbit breeding, and beekeeping. Qualified rural entrepreneurs will be able to receive a loan for up to 4.5 years at 6 percent interest rate per annum, while the effective interest rate will not exceed 6.7 percent per annum, the official website of the UNDP in Kazakhstan reads.
The second phase of the «Eco-Damu» Program covers 12 regions, 770 rural settlements and 28 specially protected natural areas of Kazakhstan, with total budget of 275.3 million tenge.
‘The Eco-Damu Program has already proven its effectiveness during the first phase of its implementation, granting loans to people residing in rural areas of Kazakhstan for developing animal husbandry, beekeeping, crop production, tourism business and such. We are confident that this initiative is a great opportunity to support local development, generate new jobs, while safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems of the country’, said Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.
Among the core priorities of the Program is to promote gender equality and economic empowerment of women. During the first phase of the Program, 30 women from rural areas received funding for developing their business.
The Program is the fourth joint initiative of UNDP and the Fund. Overall, since 2008, 221 projects have been implemented for a total of 561.6 million tenge, including the UNDP-GEF grant funding totaling 345 million tenge. «Programs as the Eco-Damu Program enable rural residents to launch and develop micro-businesses and create jobs, while protecting the environment,» said Zhandar Omarov, Chairman of the Board of the Fund.
According to Yerlan Muratov, Deputy Chairman of the Forestry and Wildlife Committee of the Ministry, ‘Eco-Damu Program is a unique loan program supporting the development of ecotourism, forestry, hunting and fishing, while focusing on biodiversity conservation.’
To apply for the loan, rural residents can contact the Fund’s office in their region or check the official website www.fagri.kz.