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World Bank approves US$50mn project for Southern Africa’s agriculture activities

The World Bank has approved US$50mn project to increase the availability of agricultural technologies in Angola and Lesotho

This will be done under the ongoing World Bank-financed Agriculture Productivity Programme for Southern Africa (APPSA) involving three other countries in the region, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

The International Development Association (IDA) is contribution US$20mn, with International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) providing US$25mn and the Centre for Coordination for Agriculture in Southern Africa (CCARDESA) US$5mn for this project.

APPSA’s focus on agriculture technology addresses the need to improve the competitiveness and resilience of African agriculture using regional integration as an important mechanism to achieve higher rates of growth and poverty reduction. While agricultural productivity has increased in Southern Africa, Angola and Lesotho’s average yields are below the regional average. This project is expected to help narrow these gaps with additional investment in technology adaptation and dissemination.

“This project will help researchers, farmers, extension agents, input distributors and other end users in Angola and Lesotho to strengthen linkages between themselves and other participating countries,” said Mark Cackler, agriculture practice manager at World Bank.

Agriculture remains the primary source of subsistence, employment and income for most of Southern Africa’s 330mn people. However, despite the region’s rich land and water resources, the productivity of the agriculture sector has not been fully exploited, which has undermined economic transformation.

Activities financed under APPSA include innovative research and development (R&D) technology generation and dissemination activities associated with the commodity groups or technology themes being targeted by participating countries as well as the strengthening of the institutional and enabling environment for technology adaptation in these countries. These activities are in line with regional policies and programmes including the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)’s Regional Agriculture Policy (RAP) and the African Union (AU)’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).