Gvt se­cures $25 mil­lion for small-holder farm­ers

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Bianca Mlilo

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

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