Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s technical team is in Zimbabwe to assess the country’s agricultural needs and make recommendations to fund smallholder communal farmers.
IFAD is a specialised agency of the United Nations dedicated to reducing rural poverty and hunger in developing countries. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made, said the visit by IFAD officials was important as it would help in preparing a project concept note that would assist Zimbabwe in applying for funding.
“We met with the team and we were made to outline the areas that they should emphasize on, which are the dry areas of the country where we can assist in mitigating climate change. We agreed that communal smallholder irrigation schemes, A1, old resettlement and small scale farming areas commonly known as the purchase areas should receive the assistance,” he said.
The team is expected to meet input suppliers, farmers unions, agro processors, staff from the university of Zimbabwe and senior Government officials.
“We emphasised to the team that Zimbabwe is paying attention to modernizing agriculture through mechanisation and irrigation development. We are grateful to the G77 plus China Group in terms of help they have been giving us in the past 15 years.
“There are projects already on the ground that we want them to take note of. They have continued to help small scale farmers and this is a critical mission,” he said.
IFAD was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference.
Meanwhile, India is expected to supply equipment for testing food and animal products in Zimbabwe and the ministry is in the process of renovating buildings that will house the equipment.
The equipment will be used for conducting tests on crops and animal products both processed and non-processed for toxins among other fungi.
“The physical structures are ready. We will be testing plants and meats especially on chemical residues. This is a very vital laboratory and is important in revitalizing agriculture as outlined by President Mugabe in the 10 point plan,” he said.