NANCY MWAPE, Lusaka
THE European Union (EU) and the Ministry of Agriculture will this year sign a financing agreement amounting to €87 million to support the agriculture sector under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) 2014-20 national indicative programme.
Ministry of Finance national authorising officer-agriculture sector Kondwani Gondwe said the financing agreement is expected to be signed by December this year while the implementation of the project will be next year.
Mr Gondwe said a bigger portion of the funding will go towards financing for small-scale farmers with concessional loans that will be given through commercial banks.
“Majority of small-scale farmers cannot access funding as they are considered to be high risk by commercial banks,” he said in an interview last week.
He said about €10 million will go towards aquaculture development, while €12.5 million will be spent on promoting climate change resilience in the country.
Mr Gondwe said part of the funding will go towards promoting irrigation farming among small-scale farmers.
“We also have a component that is promoting the e-voucher system of about €12.5 million that will lead to a more efficient way of distributing inputs, as the country moves away from traditional farmer input support programme.’’
He said as Government rolls out the e-voucher system countrywide, the project will continue with farmer registration and promoting an effective way of conducting the system.
Mr Gondwe said under the 11th EDF programme with the European Union, the Ministry of Finance has secured a grant of €110 million for 2014-2020 period.
Under the 10th EDF programme, the Ministry of Agriculture promoted conservation farming in 31 districts in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation.