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FAO, British Govt Unveil $48 Million Deal to Assist Zim Farmers

  • Blessing  Zulu

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the British Department for International Development have agreed on a four-year $48 million deal to assist 300,000 Zimbabwean farmers in an effort aimed at addressing poverty, food insecurity and climate change.

In a statement, the UN said the FAO-managed programme will employ climate-smart farming practices that will raise agricultural productivity, along with initiatives that will improve farmers’ access to markets.

The UN said the programme will aim to boost short-term employment opportunities through safety net programmes that will help women and men improve nutrition and invest in their farms, improve irrigation infrastructure and link smallholder farmers with
markets.

“It will also aim to boost short-term employment opportunities through safety-net programmes that will help women and men improve nutrition and invest in their farms, improve irrigation infrastructure and link smallholder farmers with markets.

“In addition, the initiative will strive to provide enabling environments through policy support and to encourage public and private investments, while also aiming to increase agricultural production and productivity of nutritious foods.”

The UN further said making farmers resilient against climate change is one of the objectives of the programme, which will focus on promoting appropriate climate-smart technologies and farming systems such as greater crop diversity, improved storage, processing and preservation, crop rotations, conservation agriculture and irrigation.

“Resilient livestock production approaches will also be promoted, covering improved feeding strategies, fodder crop production, animal husbandry and breeding practices.”

Zimbabwe is an agro-based economy with more than 70 percent of the population relying on it. But last year’s drought has seen an estimated 2,2 million people needing food assistance by early next year, according to the World Food Programme.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told VOA Studio 7 that cabinet has already been in discussion about the programme.

FAO Zimbabwe Project Officer Douglas Mangunda said the UN and UK programme is key in turning around the fortunes of the country’s farmers.
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