ZAMBIA – The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) has injected K13.5 million (US$750,000) in Zambia aimed to provide inputs and basic assets to small-scale producers, in bid to maintain production and establish fast-maturing alternative agriculture enterprises.

The fund is injected through IFAD’s newly established Rural Poor Stimulus Facility as contribution towards the handling of economic challenges beset on rural communities by the COVID – 19 pandemics in 59 targeted countries, reports Zambia Business Times.

Other areas to be financed by the facility include facilitating access to markets in conditions of restricted movement and ensuring that market remain open and break-even demand.

It also seeks to deliver targeted funds through existing financial institutions that work with rural based small-scale producers and small and medium agricultures enterprises to preserve services, markets and jobs.

IFAD has put in US$40 million of its own funds as seed money for the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility to get started while more funds will be raised from other development and cooperating partners around the globe.

It is anticipated that the funding to recipient countries will increase as more donors contribute to the facility.

Finance Minster Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu has thanked IFAD for the K13.5 million support saying the facility will effectively supplement rural sustainability interventions that the government has so far developed in response to the Covid-19 induced economic slowdown.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), IFAD has partnered with the government to undertake the US$130.4m Inclusive and Resilient Rural Development Programme (PADRIR), targeting to better nutrition in the country and build resilience for small-scale farmers.

The programme funding includes a US$26.6 million loan and US$9.8 million grant from IFAD.

In addition, the government of DRC is providing US$14.7 million, with a further US$3.3 million contributed by beneficiaries themselves. International co-financiers and development partners have committed a total of US$75.9 million.

IFAD has indicated that the program is geared to reduce poverty, increase productivity and incomes, improve food and nutrition security, and build the resilience of more than 410,000 small-scale farmers households.

It will promote production of food crops such as cassava, rice and maize for climate-resilient value chain development, and groundnut, cowpea and soy to strengthen food and nutritional security.

To diversify the income of small-scale farmers, PADRIR will encourage market gardening, fish farming, poultry breeding, beekeeping and livestock raising.

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