The African Development Bank (AfDB) has injected a total US$25.65 million grant to enhance food production as well as mitigate against a possible food crisis in Zimbabwe, according to NewZimbabwe.com.
The funds were drawn from the African Development Fund’s Transition Support Facility, a concessional arm of the AfDB Group which granted the country an exemption from debt-related eligibility criteria, given the severity of its circumstances.
The development comes shortly after the AfDB president, Akinwumi Adesina committed to assisting Zimbabwe with a strategy to clear off its US$13.5 billion debt owed to external financiers.
Said Leila Mokaddem, AfDB’s Director General in southern Africa:
This $25.65 million project aims to mitigate the food insecurity situation in Zimbabwe, which results from a poor agriculture season due to rainfall deficits and the impacts of the Russia/Ukraine conflict. The conflict has contributed to a sharp rise in commodity prices, including food and farm inputs, such as fertilizer and seed.
This project is in line with the Bank’s Zimbabwe strategy to support the private sector and agriculture productivity and sustainability as well as developing related value chains.
Under the initiative, the African Emergency Food Production Facility will:
a). Distribute certified seeds and fertilizer to 180,000 beneficiaries, including around 70 000 women, in the eight farming provinces of Zimbabwe, namely Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and the Midlands.
b). Make use of ICT-based platforms and the existing private sector-based distribution channels.
c). Deliver farming inputs to beneficiary farmers through innovative financing, using a transparent and accountable electronic platform. To improve efficiency and productivity, it will employ extension systems based on the AfDB’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation initiative (TAAT) which has boosted agricultural output in several countries.
A fortnight ago, the World Food Program added Zimbabwe to the list of countries with hunger hotspots following a bad agricultural season due to poor rains received last year.