Zambia has been selected as one of the 59 East and Southern African countries that will benefit from International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)’s newly created Rural Poor Stimulus Facility.
In a letter to Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, IFAD Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Sara Mbago-Bhunu said with Zambia’s handling of economic challenges beset on rural communities by the Covid-19 pandemic, IFAD will initially give the country K13.5 million.
IFAD has put in US$40 million of its own funds as seed money for the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility “to get started” while more funds are raised from other development and cooperating partners around the globe, the IFAD Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, indicated in her letter.
“It is anticipated that the funding to recipient countries will increase as more donors contribute to the facility,” the letter read in part. IFAD’s Rural Poor Stimulus Facility resources are intended to support the Government’s interventions in responding to the Covid-19 crisis, by financing targeted investments that support rural based small-scale producers and poor households,” she further stated.
To help weather the economic effects of Covid-19 and subject to a mutually agreed action plan, some of the areas to be financed through IFAD’s Rural Poor Stimulus Facility, are providing inputs and basic assets to enable small-scale producers to maintain production and establish fast-maturing alternative agriculture enterprises; facilitating access to markets in conditions of restricted movement and ensuring that markets remain open, and break-even demand, feasible; and, delivering targeted funds through existing financial institutions that work with rural based small-scale producers and small and medium agriculture enterprises – to preserve services, markets and jobs.
Dr Ng’andu has thanked IFAD for the K13.5 million support and said the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility will effectively supplement the rural sustainability interventions that the Government has so far developed in response to the Covid-19 induced economic slowdown.