In Zimbabwe, the government is launching a US$20 million fund to finance irrigation projects in eight provinces of the country. The aim is to strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers to the drought that is causing food insecurity.
Transforming the business of smallholder farmers through more sustainable irrigation systems in a context of drought. This is the ambition of the Zimbabwean government, which has just launched a US$20 million fund. The new fund will specifically support smallholder farmers in eight of the country’s ten provinces, including Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.
The Zimbabwean Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will deduct the US$20 million from “the country’s allocation (US$958 million) of the US$650 billion Special Drawing Rights granted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2021“, to fund 18 irrigation projects. The aim is to improve agricultural yields in these eight drought-affected provinces. The future schemes will cover a total area of 2,700 hectares, increasing the amount of irrigated land in the country to 252,700 hectares.
Currently, Zimbabwe has 250,000 hectares of irrigated land. The Zimbabwean government’s ambition is to irrigate 350,000 hectares of land, in line with its horticultural growth and recovery plan.
The Zimbabwean Ministry of Agriculture will pilot the 18 irrigation projects, which will also help reduce food insecurity. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), drought affected the food security and livelihoods of 45% of Zimbabwe’s rural population in 2019.