Home » Education » IFAD TO PROVIDE ZIMBABWE 25 MLN USD FOR IRRIGATION PROJECTS

The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), a United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries, and the Zimbabwe government will sign an agreement for a 25.5 million US dollar grant to support irrigation projects in the countr.

Zimbabwe'sFinance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said here Thursday that the agreement, which would be signed Friday in Rome, Italy, was to support the country's Smallholder Irrigation Revitalization Programme (SIRP).

"IFAD approved the grant in September, 2016.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," he said.

"The objective of the programme is to sustainably increase diversified production, productivity, income and improve resilience of households in the selected areas."

Chinamasa said the programme also sought to improve market access and capacity building measures in order to boost food security.

Last week, government also announced that it was negotiating with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) for funding amounting to 35.7 million USD to implement an intensive citrus irrigation project in Beitbridge in Matabeleland South Province which will benefit 5,000 households.

Agricultural experts have urged Zimbabwe to exploit its vast irrigation potential to combat the effects of climate change in order to attain food security. Zimbabwe has over the past few years seen its agricultural production dropping on the back of changing weather patterns, unreliable rains as well as other production bottlenecks.

In the 2014/15 season, Zimbabwe wrote off about 300,000 hectares out of an estimated two million hectares which were planted after crops wilted because of sporadic rains leading to a serious deficit that government met through imports.

Zimbabwe's economy is highly dependent on agriculture which, last year accounted for around 10.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, 16 per cent of exports and 60 per cent of raw materials utilized in local industries.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.

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