IFAD and Zimbabwe to affirm partnership and commitment to reducing rural poverty

IFAD and Zimbabwe to affirm partnership and commitment to reducing rural poverty
November 30 14:50 2018

By Staff Reporter

The President of International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Mr Gilbert Houngbo is set to visit Zimbabwe and discuss investment to improve food and nutrition security, provide employment opportunities for rural youth and reduce poverty.

Mr Houngbo will meet President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and other government officials from 3-5 December.

In a statement from UN Zimbabwe, Mr Houngbo’s first visit to Zimbabwe would focus on the role of smallholder farmers in ensuring food security in Zimbabwe, the challenge of climate change, the need to investment in agriculture and the opportunities agriculture can offer to rural youth.

“In Zimbabwe, the agriculture sector provides livelihoods for over 70- per cent of the population and supports one third of the labour force. In addition, it generates 15-18 per cent of the country’s GDP and contributes over 40 per cent of national export earnings,” reads the statement.

However, due to effects of climate change and recurrent droughts, Zimbabwe’s food-security continues to face serious challenges exposing millions of people to food and nutrition insecurity.

The statement also read that, IFAD was supporting smallholder irrigation schemes in four provinces of Zimbabwe.

“More than half of smallholder irrigation schemes in Zimbabwe are either not functional or only partly functional. To address this problem, and improve food and nutrition security as well as reduce poverty, IFAD is supporting a new Smallholder Irrigation Revitalization Programme (SIRP), which started in January 2018.

“SIRP with a total cost of USD 51.23 million with USD 25.5 million from IFAD grant will revitalize 6,100 hectares in 152 existing smallholder irrigation schemes and benefit 148,750 smallholder farmers in the provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Midlands,” the statement reads.

Mr Houngbo is also set to visit the IFAD-supported Smallholder Irrigation Support Programme and meet with project participants to see first-hand how their lives have been impacted.

“The project’s 24 improved irrigation schemes have benefitted about 2,000 smallholder farmers households. Evidence shows that households in smallholder irrigation schemes are better off in terms of food production, income, nutrition and general well-being than households reliant on rainfed agriculture.

“Zimbabwe at a total cost of US$266.9 million, with an IFAD investment of $95.6 million. These programmes and projects have directly benefited 1,168,000 rural households in Zimbabwe,” reads the statement.

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$20.4 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 480 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

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