USAid Awards Grants Aimed at Rural Farmers

THE United States Agency for International Development (USAid) has awarded US$14 million in grants to seven non-governmental organisations aimed at restoring livelihoods to farmers in rural Zimbabwe and kick-starting agricultural recovery.

The grants target more than 52 000 farmers and agri-businesses in support of a broad range of activities and sectors, with the ultimate goal of increasing production and raising incomes.

Grant activities include vouchers for agricultural inputs, provision of extension services to farmers, training in conservation farming, strengthening agro-dealers and processors, development of local commodity associations, re-establishment of market linkages, business training, seed retention, creation of internal savings and lending groups, and small-scale irrigation.

One grant focuses on increasing production, processing, and marketing of meat, milk, and eggs, whereas other grants focus on staple crops (eg, maize, groundnuts, beans, and sweet potato) and cotton.

The projects will benefit farmers in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland, and Manicaland.

USAid mission director Karen Freeman noted that the United States government is committed to restoring the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe as an engine of growth and a source of pride.

“Zimbabwe’s economy has always revolved around agriculture. We are proud of the activities proposed by the Livelihood awardees to help to restore this important sector to health,” she said. “This is an investment from the people of the United States which demonstrates our strong and continued support for Zimbabwean farmers and agri-businesses.”

The NGOs include Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance, International Relief and Development, the Cooperative League of the USA, Africare, Mercy Corps, Care, and Land O’Lakes. Beneficiaries of the grants will work with local partners and communities to ensure quick start-up, rapid and sustainable impact, and high levels of local involvement and participation.

 

Staff Writer

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