Source: $15m boost for irrigation | The Herald March 12, 2018
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe has signed a $15 million loan agreement with the OPEC Fund for International Development meant to assist smallholder irrigation in four provinces.
The agreement was signed by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development Mr Suleiman Al-Herbish in Vienna, Austria, on Friday last week.
In a statement, Minister Chinamasa said the loan would benefit thousands of households.
“The project will directly benefit at least 15 000 households in existing irrigation schemes and 12 500 households in adjacent rain-fed areas, covering a total of 8 000 hectares. Further, employment opportunities for 2 000 youths and 500 extension and technical service providers will be created. The project will support sustainable development in Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands and Matebeleland South provinces,” Minister Chinamasa said.
He also said the money will add to the $25,5 million grant provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
“The total project cost is estimated at $51,68 million. The OPEC facility of $15 million is over and above the $25,5 million grant that has been availed by the IFAD.
“The Government of Zimbabwe and beneficiaries will contribute $7,9 million and $3,28 million respectively towards the project cost of $51,68 million.
“The Government of Zimbabwe is grateful to the OPEC Fund for International Development for the loan facility and looks forward to increased cooperation,” Minister Chinamasa added.
Government has identified the promotion of irrigation as a long term solution to the unpredictability of weather patterns that has contributed to food shortages in the past.
President Mnangagwa has announced that Government intends to put at least 2 000 hectares under irrigation in each of the country’s provinces as part of measures to boost productivity and ensure food security in the country.