By Patience Rashai
United Nations agency, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) is set to inject $41 million in Zimbabwe in the next three years, a move meant to revive the country’s rural agriculture sector.
This investment will boost the marginalised rural agriculture sector with irrigation, agriculture inputs, as well as value addition to improve livelihoods.
“Our objective is not to make money but to provide rural finance. We always target communities that are deemed to be the poorest in the country and focus on rural transformation,” said IFAD President, Gilbert Houngbo.
IFAD says its focus is investing in smallholder irrigation which will in turn help farmers have two to three farming cycles per year and increase productivity to boost their income and improve their livelihoods, and not for farmers to necessarily rely on rainfall.
“Not only do we want to develop the rural areas, but how to use agriculture as an entry point, using the comparative advantage that Zimbabwe has to encourage youth employment and involvement in agriculture,” he added.
The agency will also assist in value addition of the produce which they said was a very important intervention for smallholder farmers as it would double productivity as well as income, which is among their major focus as IFAD.
IFAD is a specialized international financial institution that finances agricultural development projects primarily for food production, aimed at alleviating hunger in developing countries.