An American non-profit organisation has launched a $40 million joint venture with one of Zambia’s top farm suppliers to boost crop yields and food security as farmers struggle to access finance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the local company said on Sunday.
The chairman of African Green Resources (AGR), Zuneid Yousuf, said the private sector deal with U.S-based African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) included a scheme supporting 250,000 mainly subsistence farmers to double their maize yields and help feed around 10 million people in Zambia and the southern African region.
“AFAP’s role is not only sourcing fertiliser guarantees and credit lines, but to also act as an adviser for downstream activities like value addition,” Yousuf told Reuters in his Lusaka offices.
Credit packages for seed, fertiliser and training will be provided to the farmers, while plans are also being made to use soya beans and maize to produce animal stock feed, among other products, Yousuf said.
Zambia’s 2019/2020 season maize production is projected to increase to over 3.3 million tonnes from around 2 million tonnes in the previous season but is still below potential, Yousuf said.
Zambia has reported 1,416 confirmed coronavirus cases and 11 deaths.
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Wendell Roelf and Timothy Heritage)