NANCY MWAPE, Lusaka
ZAMBIA and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have signed a US$22.2 million financial agreement that will boost food security and increase incomes for smallholder farmers.
Over 61,000 smallholder farmers in rural households are expected to benefit from the project, which is focusing on women and young people and the promotion of market-oriented agriculture.
According to a statement availed to the Daily Mail over the weekend, the financing agreement for enhanced smallholder agribusiness promotion programme (E-SAPP) was signed in Rome by IFAD president Gilbert Houngbo and Zambia’s Ministry of Finance permanent secretary for budget and economics affairs Pamela Kabamba.
The agreement follows the Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Programme (SAPP), which has been making significant progress in smallholder commercialisation and agri-business promotion.
The total cost of the project is US$29.7 million, including a US$21.2 million loan and US$1 million grant from IFAD.
The project will be co-financed by the private sector (US$3.4 million), the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (US$500,000) technical assistance, the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (US$200,000) grant, Government (US$2 million) and beneficiaries (US$1.2 million).
The E-SAPP will work along the value chain of the target commodities, from input suppliers to end-users, to increase income by identifying areas where efficiency, productivity and quality can be improved.
“The project will help farmers connect to the value chain system of their respective commodities and will be integrated with other production-oriented initiatives.
“The project will concentrate on creating partnerships to facilitate the transformation from subsistence farming to farming as a business,” reads the statement.
Building on SAPP’s achievements, the programme aims to increase the volume and value of agri-business outputs sold by smallholder producers.
The E-SAPP will also address the policy environment, including efforts to integrate climate risk management into policies.
“Through agri-business partnerships, it will work to build the capacity of smallholders and their service providers to compete for and implement matching grants.
“This is key to helping smallholder farmers integrate into value chains while also improving their productivity, incomes and nutritional outcomes,” reads the statement.