ZIMBABWE is set to benefit from a Japanese grant of US$4,7 million under the economic and social development programme to support the procurement of fertilisers for vulnerable smallscale farmers.
The grant comes after the war in Ukraine spiked up prices of food, fertilisers and fuel.
According to the World Bank, last year fertiliser prices rose by 30% due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Speaking at the signing ceremony on Friday, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said without food security the country can never be independent nor be able to exploit its full potential.
“I am confident that the support from the government of Japan will contribute immensely towards the attainment of our national priorities through boosting the productivity of our small-scale farmers. Considering the targeted beneficiaries of this programme, the support will also be instrumental in reducing rural poverty as the majority resides in rural areas,” Ncube said.
Ncube said like all other countries, Zimbabwe — being an agro-based economy with most farmers being small-scale — has borne the brunt of the unsustainable fertliser prices.
Ncube said the timely intervention by Japan will go a long way in cushioning the vulnerable smallholder farming communities from the soaring global fertiliser prices.
“You will recall that food and nutrition security is one of the 14 pillars of our National Development Strategy 1, and that as government we are investing a lot of effort and resources in the agricultural sector to achieve national food security, as well as reclaim the regional ‘bread-basket’ status,” he said.
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“Just to give a few examples, government is supporting the Climate Proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme (Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme), under the Vulnerable Input Support Scheme, which entails provision of inputs for vulnerable smallholder farmers to boost their productivity. Through these interventions, we have witnessed increased grain productivity in recent years.”
He also noted that government was implementing the National Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Programme, focusing on the rehabilitation and development, as well as maintenance of communal irrigation schemes to mitigate against the adverse impacts of climate change and variability.
”I am confident that the support from the government of Japan will contribute immensely towards the attainment of our national priorities through boosting the productivity of our small-scale farmers. Considering the targeted beneficiaries of this programme, the support will also be instrumental in reducing rural poverty, as the majority resides in rural areas,” Ncube added.