By JUDITH NAMUTOWE –
THE Government and the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Monday signed a US$14.23 million loan and $0.87 million grant agreement to finance the livestock sector in Zambia.
The agreement under the Enhanced Smallholder Livestock Investment Programme (E-SLIP) was signed in Rome by Ministry of Finance permanent
secretary, Pamela Kabamba and IFAD president Kanayo Nwanze.
According to a statement, the E-SLIP is designed to address the critical gaps in the country’s livestock sector services and
technologies which include the control of key cattle diseases.
IFAD representative and country director for Zambia Abla Benhammouche said the programme would further enlarge and enhance the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock’s restocking programme for poor smallholder farmers.
“This new programme will scale-up the closing IFAD-supported Smallholder Livestock Investment Project, which has provided valuable support to the Zambian livestock sector through strengthening the Government capacity for animal diseases control and reducing the
incidence of the east coast fever and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia,” Mr Benhammouche said.
He said the programme would also improve sustainably the production and productivity of key livestock systems of the targeted smallholder producers in the programme areas.
With a total cost of US$46.3 million, E-SLIP is co-financed with a $10.6 million contribution from the Government, an $8.6 million contribution from the beneficiaries themselves and a $12 million funding gap for which discussions are ongoing with potential co-financers such as OPEC Fund for International Development.
The fund would directly benefit 180,000 poor rural livestock households that are raising cattle, goats, pigs and poultry.
It will particularly benefit women and young people-headed households in improving their economic activities and livelihoods.
In addition, about 900,000 farm households that raise livestock would benefit indirectly from the programme disease control and technology development.
IFAD has invested a total of $203.6 million in 14 programmes and projects in Zambia, amounting to $320.5 million when co-financing is included.
Nearly 960,000 Zambian rural households have benefitted from these efforts so far.