The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Finland have boosted the Republic of Zambia with the sum of US$31.8 million, about N5.249billion to improve the growth in small-holder agriculture.
While IFAD loaned Zambia the sum of $24.8m, Finland gave a grant of $7m.
This follows the signing of the financial agreement for the Smallholder Productivity Promotion Programme, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Zambia to United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies, Mr. Samuel Mapala and IFAD President, Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that agriculture, as an important sector for Zambian economic development contributes almost 22 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 60 per cent of Zambians depends on agriculture for their livelihoods.
IFAD in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet shows that loan is a necessity considering the need to promote businesses in the agricultural sector and raise productivity, which are of high priority to the government.
Focusing on increasing the production of cassava, mixed beans, groundnuts and rice, the new programme, NaijaAgroNet further learnt will enhance the on-farm productivity of smallholder farmers that will enable them to respond to emerging market opportunities. Even as it has the potential of improving income levels, food and nutrition security for poor agricultural households in the areas being covered.
NaijaAgroNet learnt that Finland co-financed the programme with a grant of US$7 million. While the programme will start in eight districts and gradually extended to some 24 districts, even as over 60,000 smallholder farming households will benefit from the programme.'Yinka Awosanya
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