Conrad Mwanawashe and Tinashe Makichi Business Reporters
Zimbabwe United Nations Assistance Framework is in line to raise $300 million by the end of 2015 aimed at supporting the country’s agricultural sector. Over $170 million has so far been secured and the remaining $129 million gap will be completed by the end of next year, according to Food and Agricultural Organisation assistant representative Mr David Mfote.
“Our main objective is on food security and households’ improvements and for us to be able to attain this we have to self manage natural resources to promote sustainable development.
“When we started our 2012-2015 priorities we had a budget of $300 million and by mid this year we had secured over $170 million and what is left is $129 million and this gap will be completed by the end of 2015,” said Mr Mfote.
He was making a presentation at the United Nations Day media breakfast meeting yesterday.
Mr Mfote said the UN has supported many projects aligned to the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, especially on the food and nutrition cluster.
He said the UN has been partnering Government to come up with a sound agricultural sector and many funding channels have been secured with the idea to unlock funding required.
“We have the draft agricultural policy which is now before Cabinet and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Mechanisation also developed a contract farming strategy which is now before the Attorney General’s office,” said Mr Mfote.
He said the UN has championed the rehabilitation of community assets which includes small irrigation schemes and there has been capacity development with respect to training of Government staff for them to begin to appreciate climate change.
Mr Mfote said there has been a lot of capacity development with respect to farmer skills and knowledge and this resulted in most farmers beginning to appreciate farming.
He said the UN is also advocating for improved public private partnerships and improved access to agricultural inputs by small holder farmers.
Over the past two seasons the country has improved agricultural productivity to 0,8 from 0,7 percent and Mr Mfote said the challenge is for the country to move to 2,5 percent like what other SADC countries are doing.
“We have our key development partners who have provided funding,” he said.