Ministry of Agriculture unveils funding for smallholder farmers
Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Settlements has unveiled funding in the form of grants to benefit potential smallholder farmers to increase their production.
This was shared on the Ministry’s Facebook page and also shared by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. John Basera on Friday.
The announcement said, “The Ministry will channel investments in agriculture by providing financial support in the form of grants to Agribusinesses, Farming Groups, Business Development Enterprises, and Cooperatives with the potential to benefit smallholder farmers.”
The initiative is a cooperation between the European Union and the Ministry and other International Organizations, and is part of the wider 11th Environmental Defense Fund “Support to the Sustainable Commercialisation of our country’s Smallholder Farmers Programme”, to unlock, accelerate and leverage investments within agricultural value chains including agroforestry and aquaculture.
The Fund’s specific objective is to integrate 150,000 smallholder farmers in sustainable value chains. Supporting and enabling between 25 to 30 agri-enterprises to increase their turnover by at least 25%, is expected to increase incomes and food security for at least 150,000 smallholder farmers and create a minimum of 8,500 net equivalent jobs.
It will contribute to an increase in smallholder production; with 90% improving their access to markets and will result in quantifiable positive impacts on dietary diversity and overall food security. Additionally, the project seeks to promote increased access to finance such as credit and investment for complementary investments by value chain actors. All are invited to apply for this project.
The funding comes at an opportune time when farmers have been challenged by President ED Mnangagwa to consolidate the country’s food sustainability. The challenge was issued during the burial of national hero, Joshua Teke Malinga at the national shrine.
Speaking during the national hero interment, President Mnangagwa said, “During this 2023/2024 summer cropping season, I challenge the nation and stakeholders in the agriculture sector to consolidate our country’s food security and sovereignty. We must continue to be a nation which is able to feed itself. The Presidential Input Support Programmes are being availed to our people. No one and no place must be left behind in the allocation and distribution of agricultural inputs as we scale up production and productivity across all agriculture subsectors.”
He added that, “Further, I urge all our farmers to take advantage of extension services, particularly given the projected rainfall fluctuations that the region may experience in the coming season.”