Efforts to improve agriculture productivity in Southern Africa got a boost following the World Bank Board approval of over M712 million project to increase the availability of agricultural technologies in Angola and Lesotho.
According to press release from World Bank, this will be done under the ongoing World Bank financed Agriculture Productivity Programme for Southern Africa (APPSA) involving three other countries in the region thus; Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
It says APPSA’s focus on agriculture technology addresses the need to improve the competitiveness and resilience of African agriculture using regional integration as a key mechanism to achieve higher rates of growth and poverty reduction.
It states that while agricultural productivity has increased in Southern Africa, Angola and Lesotho’s average yields are below the regional average. It adds that this project is expected to help narrow these gaps with additional investment in technology adaptation and dissemination.
“This project will help researchers, farmers, extension agents, input distributors and other end users in Angola and Lesotho to strengthen linkages between themselves and other participating countries,” the statement quotes the World Bank Agriculture Practice Manager, Mr. Mark Cackler. As quoted, Mr. Cackler noted that this is in line with the World Bank’s twin goal to reduce extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.
According to the press release, agriculture remains the primary source of subsistence, employment, and income for most of Southern Africa’s 330 million people. However, despite the region’s rich land and water resources, the productivity of the agriculture sector has not been fully exploited, which has undermined economic transformation.
Activities financed under APPSA include: Innovative Research and Development (R&D) technology generation and dissemination activities associated with the commodity groups or technology themes being targeted by participating countries as well as strengthening of the institutional and enabling environment for technology adaptation in these countries.
These activities are in line with regional policies and programmes including the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)’s Regional Agriculture Policy (RAP) and the African Union (AU)’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The M712 million World Bank financing comes from M285 million of International Development Association (IDA) and M356 million from International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), M71 million will go towards the Centre for Coordination for Agriculture in Southern Africa (CCARDESA) as a facilitating partner.
Source: LENA 19/12/201