- Improving food security and climate resilience in Zimbabwe
Improving food security and climate resilience in Zimbabwe
A US$15 million OPEC Fund loan will benefit the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project
A US$15 million OPEC Fund loan to the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project (SACP) is designed to increase productivity and improve household incomes in Zimbabwe, where half the population faced extreme poverty in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, according to the UN.
Co-financed with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and private sector investors, the program will help to transform the small-scale farming sector and increase farmers’ participation in market-oriented and climate-smart value chains.
The loan is provided under the OPEC Fund’s Food Security Action Plan, a US$1 billion commitment to address global food insecurity. The SACP will target key urban and rural agricultural production and food trading corridors in five provinces – Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North – and benefit around 80,000 small scale farmers. Fifty percent of the beneficiaries will be women and at least 30 percent will be youth.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said:
“Addressing global food insecurity and protecting the most vulnerable and affected populations is a priority for the OPEC Fund. Improving productivity and sustainability of smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe will help to create new employment and improve livelihoods.”
In Zimbabwe, nearly 70 percent of the population is dependent on agriculture as a source of livelihood. Agricultural productivity is affected by frequent droughts, irregular rainfall and floods as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening food security and increasing vulnerability of the poor populations in rural areas.
The SACP is a comprehensive program with three components, which focus on inclusive value chain development, climate proof infrastructure and institutional support. The OPEC Fund’s loan will finance the construction of small-scale irrigation schemes to equip a total area of 1,780 ha with improved, climate proofed irrigation systems, the rehabilitation of 89 km of feeder roads, and the equipment of 100 districts with water supply and sanitation facilities.
The SACP is aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 2: No Hunger, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG 15: Life on Land.
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