The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$24.8mn loan to the Republic of Zambia to accelerate growth in smallholder agriculture and reduce rural poverty in the country. The financing agreement for the Smallholder Productivity Promotion Programme was signed recently by Samuel Mapala, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Zambia to United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.
Agriculture is an important sector for Zambian economic development, contributing nearly 22 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. About 60 per cent of the population depending on agriculture for their livelihoods. Promoting businesses in the agricultural sector and raising productivity are high priorities for the government.
The new programme will focus on increasing the production of cassava, mixed beans, groundnuts and rice. It will complement the on-going IFAD-financed Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Programme by enhancing the on-farm productivity of smallholder farmers; enabling them to respond to emerging market opportunities. In addition, the programme will sustainably improve income levels, food and nutrition security for poor agricultural households in the areas covered by the programme.
Cofinanced by the government of Finland through a US$7mn grant, the programme will be implemented in northern Zambia. It will start in eight districts of two provinces, Luapula and Northern, gradually expanding to cover up to 24 districts. More than 60,000 smallholder farming households, of which half are women farmers, will benefit directly from the programme.
With this new project, IFAD will have financed 12 programmes and projects in Zambia for a total investment of US$180.1mn benefitting 601,280 households.