Investing in Zim's farmers to solve the country's problem
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Livelihood and Food Security Program (LFSP) in Zimbabwe is set to aid agricultural productivity and address low income and food insecurity in the country.
Ali Said Yesuf, the organisation’s Chief Technical Advisor told the media that together with financial assistance from the UK, their reach into the rural parts of Zimbabwe will extend into eight of the country’s districts.
The UK has contributed USD 72 million dollars, says Yesuf and this will assist in addressing “the specific constraints that smallholder farmers face in raising the productivity of their farms and creating markets for their farming produce.”
Zimbabwe’s concentration of small hold farms warrants a change in the way hunger and poverty are handled. The LFSP, for example, tackles the problem of unproductive farms by focusing on subsistence farming and not as farming as a business.
Often, farmers struggle to meet the demands of the sector because they live in remote areas without access to materials that can improve their infrastructure. Their second hurdle is that input suppliers and produce buyers will not travel to such isolated areas for business. Even when farmers in these areas try to address these issues with a loan, they fail to attract the backing of financial organisations and it’s a near death sentence for the community.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that at least 68 percent of Zimbabweans live in under-developed, rural areas. It says in an economy lead by agriculture, 76 percent of households depend on farming to survive.
The agency’s fresh look at the country’s problem might be a step in the right direction. Yesuf says more than 349,000 Zimbabweans are expected to be reached by 2018. "LFSP is improving farmers' ability to buy inputs and sell their products by strengthening farmer groups, improving farmers' access to financial services, connecting farmers to national and regional markets," Yesuf said to ISP.
Boosting the agency’s impact is the World Food Program. The organisation has supported over 5,300 small-scale farmers. Together with the UN, they have provided fertiliser and seeds that can withstand drought conditions.
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