AfDB promotes food security, COVID-19 recovery in Zambia with US$1.4m grant

ZAMBIA – Zambia has received a US$1.4 million grant from African Development Bank’s Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, to fund the Mitigating Impacts of Covid-19 on Household Food Security Project in the country.

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program was established as a response to the 2008/09 world food price crisis, following a commitment by the Group of 8 nations (G8) in September 2009 to mobilize up to US$20 billion for agricultural development and food security.

The World Bank supervises about half of the project portfolio of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.

The African Development Bank managed about a quarter in December 2019, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, 11%.

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The Mitigating Impacts of Covid-19 on Household Food Security Project is aimed to reduce malnutrition among the Southern African nation’s most vulnerable households.

This will be achieved through creation of about 150 permanent skilled or semi-skilled positions and 40 part-time unskilled jobs in crop, livestock and fisheries value chains.

“Increased food supply resulting from additional grant funds will lead to more jobs, improved quality of life, and reduction of malnutrition in many impacted communities.”

Martin Fregene – African Development Bank Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry

The project, according to AfDB, will supply inputs for crops, livestock and aquaculture enterprises to promote good agricultural practices and increase food production. There will also be a capacity building component.

“The agriculture sector is an important source of livelihoods, employment and GDP in Zambia.

“Increased food supply resulting from additional grant funds will lead to more jobs, improved quality of life, and reduction of malnutrition in many impacted communities,” said Martin Fregene, African Development Bank Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry.

The project provides supplementary funds to the ongoing Agriculture Productivity and Market Enhancement Project, a US$32 million grant-funded initiative also from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.

It has been managed by the Bank in the Sinazongwe, Gwembe, Chongwe, Rufunsa, Serenje and Chitambo districts of Zambia over the past five years.

Global Agriculture and Food Security Program administrators said the six districts were selected based on poverty levels, food insecurity and malnutrition prevalence.

However, with this funding and program, these districts have the potential for economic growth, and to promote crop diversification.

Some 5,000 people, including 3,750 women and 1,000 youth, will benefit. Some 5,000 people will also benefit indirectly along the commodity value chains.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Zambia has implemented bold measures to protect the health and economic well-being of its citizens.

These steps included a nationwide program to scale up agricultural diversification. The Bank’s Covid-19 Response Facility launched in 2020 has been a lifeline to member governments by providing resources to tackle the pandemic.

“The facility will consolidate the Bank’s support for Zambia’s economic diversification and impact mitigation against Covid-19,” said Mary Monyau, the Bank’s Country Manager in Zambia.

The Zambian project is in line with the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities, specifically, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Similar Bank projects have been successfully undertaken in Malawi, Niger, Liberia, Senegal and the Gambia.

FAO to support aquaculture projects in Asia and Africa with US$46.6m

Meanwhile, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has welcomed approval from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), for five FAO-led projects in eight countries, totalling more than US$46.6 million in funding. 

These projects will address critical environmental challenges – such as land degradation, biodiversity loss, unsustainable fishing and climate change – that threaten the food security and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people in Asia and Africa.

They will be implemented in partnership with and co-financed by the governments of Cambodia, Cameroon, Eritrea, Lesotho, Malaysia, Senegal, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

The projects approved by the GEF will assist countries and communities to adopt more sustainable and climate-resilient practices, foster regional cooperation, and enact stronger policies to conserve biodiversity and deter illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

They will directly benefit 441,500 people and restore over 27,000 hectares of degraded landscapes. The projects will also create 30,000 hectares of new protected areas on land and sea, and improve the management of over 765,000 hectares of landscapes and 4 million hectares of marine habitats.

Their action is designed to mitigate 6.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, and move 547,393 tonnes of over-exploited fish stocks to more sustainable levels.

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