Zimbabwe: African Development Fund approves $25.65 million grant to boost food production and resilience – Zimbabwe
The African Development Fund Board has approved a grant of approximately $25.65 million to help Zimbabwe improve domestic food production and supply. The funds were drawn from the Transition Support Facility (TSF), although the Board granted a waiver, to help Zimbabwe mitigate a possible food crisis. Zimbabwe is in debt and in arrears and is therefore not eligible for TSF resources.
On July 15, the African Development Fund, the concessional arm of the African Development Bank Group, granted the country an exemption from the debt-related eligibility criteria, given the seriousness of its situation.
The project will be implemented at community and national levels to help farmers increase food production to mitigate the impact of insufficient rainfall during the last growing season and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, on food prices food security in the short term and to strengthen food security in the longer term. . The main objective of the project is to increase grain and oilseed production, boost fertilizer distribution and provide policy support over the next two years.
It falls under the African Development Bank’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, a response to the global crisis that has worsened shortages in many African countries. In Zimbabwe, it will focus on key agricultural products, namely wheat, maize and oilseeds, including soybeans and sunflowers, in line with the commodities affected by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
“This $25.65 million project aims to alleviate the food insecurity situation in Zimbabwe, which is the result of a poor agricultural season due to rainfall deficits and the impacts of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The conflict has contributed to a sharp rise in the prices of basic commodities, including food and agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers and seeds,” said Leila Mokaddem, the Bank’s Managing Director in Southern Africa.
“This project is in line with the Bank’s strategy in Zimbabwe to support the productivity and sustainability of the private sector and agriculture and the development of related value chains,” Mokaddem said.
The African Emergency Food Production Facility will distribute certified seeds and fertilizers to 180,000 beneficiaries, including approximately 70,000 women, in the eight agricultural provinces of Zimbabwe, namely Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and the Midlands. It will use ICT-based platforms and existing private sector distribution channels.
Corn production is expected to increase from 2 to 4 metric tons per hectare. High-yielding oilseed varieties (soybeans and sunflower) are expected to produce an additional 40,000 hectares, aiming for a total production of 400,000 metric tons.
The World Food Program has identified Zimbabwe as one of the 20 countries in the world most in need of aid due to rainfall deficits that have reduced 2022 cereal production below average and caused permanent wilting. crops in four provinces. The country has also suffered from persistently high rates of inflation, which have eroded the purchasing power of vulnerable sections of the population.
In addition, the country’s fertilizer stocks have been affected by the conflict in Eastern Europe, from where it imports half of its fertilizers. It also imports 55% of its wheat from the region to meet its annual needs of 400,000 metric tons.
Agricultural inputs will be delivered to beneficiary farmers through innovative financing, using a transparent and accountable electronic platform. To improve efficiency and productivity, it will use extension systems based on the African Development Bank’s Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) initiative, which has boosted agricultural production in several countries through climate-smart agricultural practices.
The project will also support the Government of Zimbabwe’s implementation of agricultural and trade policy reforms that create an enabling environment to support input distribution and market-driven import and export markets.
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development is the implementing agency for the project, which will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Gershwin Wanneburg, Communications and External Relations Department, [email protected](link sends e-mail)