IFAD pledges $22m to aid Zambian smallholders

The Enhanced Smallholder Protection Programme will look to encourage Zambia’s 61,000 smallholder farmers to transition from subsistence to market-oriented agriculture.

The UN’s International Fund for Agriculture and Development has pledged $22.2 million towards a project designed to support the development of market-oriented agriculture among the 61,000 smallholder farmers of Zambia, the agency announced last week.

The Enhanced Smallholder Protection Programme (E-SAPP) will seek to enhance efficiency in supply chains for key commodities including legumes, livestock and rice in Zambia, a southern African nation of 15 million. Placing a special emphasis on working with women and young people, E-SAPP will assist farmers in production, processing and marketing, in an attempt to strengthen connections to local markets and encourage a broad transition from subsistence farming to business-oriented farming.

“The program aims to increase the volume and value of agribusiness outputs sold by smallholder producers,” Rome-based IFAD wrote in its statement. “Through agribusiness partnerships, it will work to build the capacity of smallholders and their service providers to compete for, and implement, matching grants. This is key to helping smallholder farmers integrate into value chains while also improving their productivity, income and nutritional outcomes.”

The E-SAPP will cost a total of $29.7 million to implement, the statement said. IFAD’s contribution will come in the form of a $21.2 million loan and a $1 million grant. Unidentified private sector actors will contribute $3.2 million, according to the release, with an additional $2 million provided by the Zambian government and $1.2 million contributed by the program’s beneficiaries.

Technical assistance on the project, valued at $500,000, will be provided by Zambia-headquartered Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute. The Platform for Agricultural Risk Management, a collaboration among several developmental finance institutions including IFAD, the EU and German development bank KfW, is also contributing a $200,000 grant to E-SAPP.