IFAD to support food security project in Swaziland
The project will promote adoption of modern agricultural technologies and techniques.
United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Kingdom of Swaziland have signed an agreement to finance an initiative that will improve food and nutrition security in the country.
The initiative, which is the Smallholder Market-led Project (SMLP), will also increase the incomes of 10,900 households, in particular smallholder farmers living in Lubombo and Shiselweni regions where drought has been most severe. Swaziland is a land-locked country in Southern Africa with a population of about 1.25 million people.
Smallholder farms suffer from frequent droughts, aggravated by climate change effects, and poor access to services and markets. These challenges have led to low productivity and declining food and nutrition security which affects children in poor rural areas the most. There has been extreme drought conditions since May 2015.
The project will promote adoption of modern agricultural technologies and techniques including post-harvest processing and storage, improved seeds and small-scale irrigation to improve the productivity of crop and livestock producers in the project areas. It will concentrate on the production of commodities that respond to demands of local markets as well as farmers’ own needs for sustenance and income, including beekeeping and production of legumes, vegetables, fruits, chicken and goats. The production of maize and sorghum will also be developed.
The total investment for the project is $21.1 million. This includes a $9.6 million IFAD loan and a $500,000 grant. The government of Swaziland will contribute $6.6 million, while local private sector companies will contribute an additional $600,000. The Kingdom of Swaziland is seeking co-financing of $3.8 million from other donors to make up the remainder.
According to a statement from IFAD today, the agreement was signed in Rome by Moses Malindane Vilakati, Minister for Agriculture of the Kingdom of Swaziland, and by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.
“The approval of SMLP by IFAD’s Executive Board comes at the right time when Swaziland like many other Southern African countries are suffering from the severe drought and food shortage,” said Thomas Rath, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Swaziland. “This is the concrete example of IFAD’s commitments to work together with governments in a sustainable manner to help vulnerable smallholder farmers build up resilience to climate induced shocks.”
The new project will be implemented by the Ministry in Charge of Agriculture. It will enable small producers to obtain market information, such as demand and commodities prices, provide extension services and create new jobs for young people in rural areas.
Since 1985, IFAD has invested a total of $44.4 million in five programmes and projects in Swaziland. This has generated a total investment of $163.5 million, benefiting some 41,555 rural households.
The goal of the scheme is to improve the income and productivity of 200,000 smallholder farmers.
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