Government will today sign a financing agreement of a $25,5 million grant with the International Fund for Agricultural Development to support Zimbabwe’s Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.SIRP is consistent with the Government’s overall policy objective to enhance food security and poverty eradication in line with the country’s economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
“The Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the International Fund for Agricultural Development will sign the financing agreement of a $25,5 million grant to support Zimbabwe’s Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme in Rome, Italy on November 18, 2016,” said Minister Chinamasa.
The SIRP is targeting 4 000 hectares of smallholder irrigation schemes in communal and old resettlement areas in Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces.
Minister Chinamasa said the objective of the programme is to increase diversified production, productivity, income and improve resilience of households in the selected areas.
He said the programme also seeks to provide support to improve market access and capacity building measures in order to: boost food security, enhance management capacities within Government and farmers’ institutions, and ensure the sustainability of the investment.
“It is also contributing to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 1 (End poverty in all its forms everywhere) and Goal 2 (End hunger and achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture),” said Minister Chinamasa.
IFAD is a UN Agency that is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries.
Zimbabwe has been a member of IFAD since the country became independent in 1980. It has worked closely with IFAD in developing programmes that focus on improving the living conditions of poor rural people.
In January 2006 however, IFAD’s financial support to all operations in Zimbabwe ceased as a result of non-payment of arrears. Three ongoing projects were closed at that time.
IFAD’s previous portfolio in Zimbabwe was extremely successful in terms of impact and results, and any future initiatives will maintain the same geographical focus and strategic framework.
In particular, the Dry Areas Development Programme and the Smallholder Irrigation programme provide important guidelines for future operations in support of smallholder farmers in dry areas.
Because of a crucial level of food insecurity, the immediate focus will be on providing smallholder farmers with training in improved agricultural technology, and with inputs such as fertilisers and seeds, to help boost production and productivity.