Govt secures US$36m agric loan

Source: Govt secures US$36m agric loan | Newsday (News)

BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

GOVERNMENT has secured a US$36 million loan from the International Funds for Agriculture Development (IFAD) to boost funding for smallholder farmers.

This was revealed by Finance deputy minister Clemence Chiduwa in Parliament recently.

Subsection (3) of section 327 of the Constitution provides that an agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities and imposes a fiscal obligation on Zimbabwe does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament.

He said government prioritises the recovery of the agricultural sector which is a key enabler to the country’s economic growth.

“The Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project (SACP) increases agriculture production and productivity, especially by smallholder farmers which enhances food and nutrition security, income, increased opportunities for value addition and the development of agro-business value chains.

“To this end, government secured a US$35,7 million loan from IFAD to enhance smallholder farmers’ production and productivity.

“The Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project shall benefit poor smallholder farmers in value chains selected through stakeholder business planning and competitive matching grant mechanism,” Chiduwa said.

He said the project would be implemented in five of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces: namely Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North.

Chiduwa said the goal of the project was to increase equitable smallholder participation in market-oriented and climate-smart value chains. He said the objective of the project was to realise increased household incomes and improved nutrition, through sustainable transformation of the smallholder farming sector.

“To support the programme, government negotiated and signed a US$35,7 million loan with IFAD on 17 May 2021 for the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project.

“The loan will be utilised for sustainable smallholder irrigation development, climate-smart agriculture and market access, promotion of COVID-sensitive production and productivity enhancement, increasing the availability of diverse and nutritious foods for household consumption, improvement of knowledge, attitudes and practices on healthy eating habits and care-giving practices and improvement of performance of selected nutrition-sensitive IFAD investments” Chiduwa said.

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