Government has signed a KR150 million (US$29.8 million) loan agreement with the World Bank to enable small scale farmers improve agriculture productivity and boost food security.
The long term loan facility would be spent on agricultural productivity programmes for the Agricultural Productivity Programme for the Southern Africa (APPSA) and the project would contribute to notable strides in agricultural productivity in Zambia.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda who signed on behalf of the government said the project would benefit the Zambian people through job creation, household and national food security.
Mr Chikwanda said at the signing ceremony in his office yesterday that the financing agreement was essential to improved agriculture that would upgrade the living standards of small scale framers.
He said agriculture offered the most promising prospects for Zambia’s accelerated and sustainable development and ensured poverty reduction.
Mr Chikwanda told World Bank Country Director Kundhavi Kadiresan who signed on behalf of the bank that the small scale farmers could deliver prosperity but there was compiling need for them to improve their agronomy.
“The agreement we have signed today of $29.8 million is an essential prelude to improved agriculture. The World Bank sponsored Agriculture Productive Programme for Southern Africa (APPSA) has the correct thrust,” he said.
He said the project would in Zambia be implemented by the Zambia Research Institute (ZARI) under the ministry of agriculture and Livestock with a project focus on research stations to farmers’ fields.
He said the research would primarily focus on food legumes, such as maize, rice and sorghum adding that research stations that were expected to be involved in the project included, Kabwe, Mount Makulu, Masamfu (Kasama), Msekera (Chipata), Mochipapa (Choma), Mongu and the Golden Valley Research Institute Trust (GART).
Mr Chikwanda said the project would have three components of technology generation and dissemination, strengthening regional centres of leadership through capacity building and coordination and facilitation.
He thanked the World Bank for the loan facility saying it would enable the ministry of Agriculture to undertake research work that would benefit Zambian people.
Ms Kadiresan said the signing of the International Development Association (IDA) loan was a signal of the country’s commitment to achieving the goals of an innovative regional operation that included the participation of two neighbouring countries of Malawi and Mozambique.
She said out of the regional project involving more than $90 million in total investment, Zambia would be able to leverage $20 million in IDA resources that otherwise would not have been available.
Ms Kadiresan was excited about the project because of its focus on enhancing research in agriculture adding that agricultural research was under funded in Africa and Zambia was no exception.
“The reason for this is very simple. Agriculture provides Zambia with the best opportunity to diversify its economy. In addition it employs more than 70 per cent of the population and contributes about 14 per cent to real GDP. Therefore, investment in agricultural research and technology are a necessity,” she said.
It is good to invest in research. That’s the way to go. The only fear is that in a few years time we will be back to the HIPC days – start campaigning against debt cancellation.
How will you pay back all this debt?
@mushota.. they wont, they have just sold off your motherland zambia… if you want to know the use of that money, it will be used to bribe defecting MPs, traditional chiefs, pay huge allowance to that huge cabinet… well.. if you want some be PF you can have a share.. donchi kubeba!
@Nobo…whats wrong with you people,anything GRZ does is not good enough..how can you progress like that, being skeptical and cocky wont help, in life learn to take risks. This is a positive risk as the money will be used on research projects which is the way to go. Yes you might support other parties but lets learn to draw a line between politics and national matters…eish
mmmmm…Inkongole shaliwama..nomba ukubwesha ekwa shupa
I meant campaigning for debt cancellation, not against
It seems a good gesture by the world bank but what are the conditions (the hidden ones). When do we start doing it on our own instead of depending on others?
awe ni twalya again!
It is self evident that the PF government is operating a mandate of non- prudent management of public finance. Amounts as small as $30million can be achieved from closing taxation loopholes and improving collection systems. The result of being heavily geared is that our government’s borrowing rates will rise and the effect will impact local bank rates resulting in stiffling of local businesses and ultimately unemployment. It is better to save than to borrow.
Maize, rice and sorghum are cereals NOT LEGUMES! you…….! sorry I almost raised a political symbol.
Back to Kaunda days of borrowing without ideas of paying back. Due to high corruption levels among you Zambians especially those from Muchinga, Kasama Chinsali, Luapula, this money will end in pockets of individuals like GBM, mAIKO sATA AND THE cHIKWANDA, THE CHIEF BORROWER. Why do you think he is fond of borrowing
Sela tubombeko iwe!
Well stated, funny thing is that most of us even though young remember those crazy years. Seeing it now hurts a little more.
Barrack Obama you have educated the masses. Kaundas generation should have followed Botswana’s direction and diversified our exports. Even a ngwee profit in tooth picks exported is a profit still.
How I miss president Mwanawasa. Thank you LORD Jesus for allowing Zambia to have a president like his Mwanawasa just once. A very astute lawyer that put the interests of our nation first 87% of the time. His only draw back was his employing of some relatives in key national parastatals.
Zambia has $2 billion in reserves, why not use $50 million of that for agricultural growth?
There is Chikwanda happily and hastily signing away to borrowings of as little as $30m from the devil when we can raise that money ourselves by cutting down on deadwood deputy ministers in the bloated cabinet and unnecessary by elections.
Bane be careful amaloan ya WB na IMF are not meant to be paid back but to mortgage icalo.
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