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US$39 million FAO deal to support agro-output of rural Zambian farmers

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has signed a US$39 million deal with the Zambian government to implement a programme that will aim to help small-scale rural farmers increase production.

This is as the African Consumer Union (ACU) called on government to create a more enabling environment for the agriculture sector to grow. The idea is to give small-scale rural farmers better access to financial and non-financial credit instruments and services. This will hopefully support them to get inputs and capital for efficient production systems.

“This will lead to innovative practices for the sustainable production of crops, livestock, fisheries, wildlife and forestry,” said FAO country representative George Okech.

According to FAO, the persistence of poverty in Zambia is largely attributed to the consistently low yields farmers get for most agricultural products. Yields are well below global averages.

Okech said the programme to introduce rural Zambian farmers to innovative and sustainable farming production systems will be implemented over a five-year period, starting this year. The programme is aligned with the Zambia-United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Framework.

Meanwhile, ACU President Muyunda Ililonga said government should help fish and livestock farmers to build capacity. Ililonga said livestock farmers need similar support – as espoused by the Farmer Input Support Programme – to help grow the animal and fish population.

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