Panafrican News Agency

ADF approves $14.4 million loan to boost food security in Zambia

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (PANA) - The African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group, has approved a $14.4 million loan to enhance food security in Zambia, a key supplier to countries in the region.

According to a statement released by the Bank, the financing is anchored in the African Development Bank Group’s African Emergency Food Production Facility.

In Zambia, it will provide certified seeds and fertiliser to 45,000 emergent farmers, using innovation and ICT platforms via existing private sector-based distribution channels.

“Women and youths will receive 50% subsidized seeds through an electronic platform that enhances transparency, accountability and sustainability. The project will promote proven climate-smart agricultural practices employed by the Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation initiative (TAAT). Another outcome will be the implementation of agriculture and trade policy reforms,” it said.

Farmers will receive 36,000 metric tons of fertiliser and 3,000 metric tons of improved seeds, as part of the expected outcomes. In addition, farm gate fertiliser prices will be reduced by 50%.

In addition, a partial credit guarantee scheme will result in over 100,000 metric tons of fertiliser on the local market and stabilise prices. Over 90,000 hectares of maize and soya will be planted, with an incremental annual output of 265,000 metric tons valued at $43.72 million. This will reduce potential food imports by 200,000 metric tons, while the average farm income is expected to rise from $350 to $500 per year.

Like elsewhere in Africa, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has affected Zambia with a spillover inflationary impact across various sectors.

The average cost of the Basic Nutrition Basket increased from around $385.50 to over $510 between February and April 2022. Farm gate fertiliser prices averaged between $50.55 and $60.65 per 50kg bag in 2022 from an average of around $30.30 the previous season.

At the same time, the country anticipates a reduction in the staple grains output in 2022/23. Zambia produced 2.7 million metric tons of maize in 2022, around 600,000 metric tons less than in 2021.

-0- PANA AR/MA 28July2022