AGRICULTURE GETS BOOST FROM WORLD BANK 

Lesotho’s farmers and agribusiness owners will be able to minimise the potential impacts of climate change on their produce and improve productivity as a result of over M700 million financial boost from the International Development Association (IDA).

The country received an additional of over M29 million from the Japanese Policy and Human Resource Development (PHRD) Fund, for the country’s agriculture sector.

This is according to the press release from World Bank, which states that funding for the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project-II (SADP-II) aims to support increased adoption of climate smart agricultural technologies in Lesotho’s agriculture sector and enhance commercialisation as well as improve dietary diversity.

It further says the fund will provide matching grants to farmers and agro-processors to finance investments for increasing on-farm productivity and post-harvest infrastructure and management, adding that at least 50 percent of project beneficiaries are expected to be women and youth.

The project supports the Government of Lesotho’s efforts to commercialise the sector, grow the economy and enhance employment.

The release quotes Mr. Paul Noumba Um, who is the World Bank Country Director for Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe as saying, “Through this project, the Government of Lesotho will be able to improve the country’s food security, employment opportunities, rural livelihoods and nutrition and increased commercialisation through main-streaming climate and environment considerations into agriculture to enhance climate resilience, and this is in line with the World Bank’s twin goals to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity.

The project aims to scale up support to Lesotho’s efforts to transform the agriculture sector as well as harness the triple wins of Climate Smart Agriculture: improved productivity, increased adaptive capacity to climate risks, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Also it will provide training and offer advisory services in climate smart agricultural practices to strengthen the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers to adjust and modify their production systems to minimise potential future impacts from climate change and variability.

It also states that through the PHRD grant, this project will also help to increase dietary awareness among Lesotho’s rural population and improve knowledge of nutrition as well as improve household level production and consumption of highly nutritious foods.

The project, which is to be implemented over seven years, will cover all ten districts of Lesotho.

SADP-II builds on Phase I of the project that has been under implementation since 2011 with support from the World Bank and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).

The World Bank’s international Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for project and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about M200 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.

 

Source: LENA 31/06/2019