Gvt secures $25 million for small-holder farmers
TREASURY has secured $25,5 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) to be used in financing the Zimbabwe Small Holder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme (SIRP) in the current farming season.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa signed the financing agreement in Italy last Friday following approval of the deal in September 2016.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Willard Manungo, said the initial disbursement of the grant was expected to be done before the end of the year with a bias towards women producers.
He emphasised that the fund was a grant and not a line of credit that could be accessed through banks. Mr Manungo said the fund seeks to revitalise dilapidated irrigation schemes with existing infrastructure.
“The implementing or executing agent of this grant will be the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Mechanisation. They already have the structures and a project implementation unit,” said Mr Manungo.
“The grant will be disbursed via special accounts in the set Government structures. At least 50 percent of the beneficiaries of the grant will be women.”
He said further details concerning the grant would be disclosed in Minister Chinamasa’s 2017 national budget presentation on December 8, 2016.The programme is targeting 4 000 hectares of smallholder irrigation schemes in communal and old resettlement areas in Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces, Minister Chinamasa said in a statement.
“The objective of the programme is to sustainably increase diversified production, productivity, income and improve resilience of households in the selected areas,” he said.
The programme also seeks to provide support to improve market access and capacity-building measures in order to boost food security, enhance management capacities within Government and farmers institutions and ensure the sustainability of the investment.
This is consistent with the Government’s overall policy objective of enhancing food security and poverty eradication in line with the country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.
The programme is also contributing to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 1, which seeks to end poverty in all its forms everywhere and Goal 2 of ending hunger to achieve food security and improved nutrition.
Ifad is a United Nations Agency that is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries.— @ BiancaMlilo