US$45.7mn loan and grant to boost Malawi food security
Monday, 27 February 2012 10:44
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$22.85mn loan and US$22.85mn grant to the Republic of Malawi
The money will be used to help smallholder farmers improve food security and reduce rural poverty in the country. Brave Rona Ndisale, Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi to Belgium and the Permanent Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, recently signed the loan and grant agreement for the Sustainable Agricultural Production Programme (SAPP).
Agriculture is an important sector for Malawian economic development. It employs about 85 per cent of the workforce and contributes nearly 45 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. Maize is the country’s main crop, but one-third of small-scale farmers also cultivate cash crops such as tobacco, tea and groundnuts. Promoting the agricultural sector and raising productivity are high priorities for the government.
The programme will support smallholders to improve agricultural productivity through the use of simple and affordable technologies. In addition, it will support smallholder farmers to gain better access to tools, equipment, seeds and fertilisers, financial services, post-harvest facilities, and improved market infrastructure.
Co-financed by the government of Malawi, this new programme will be implemented in six districts identified by the government: Balaka, Blantyre, Chitipa, Chiradzulu, Lilongwe and Nkhotakota and will benefit approximately 200,000 poor rural households, including women and youth. Since 1981, with this new programme, IFAD will have financed 11 programmes and projects in Malawi for a total investment of US$164.8mn benefitting 1,435,950 households.