#Britain funds #Zimbabwe farmers to boost yields

HARARE, March 19 (Xinhua) — Zimbabwe got a shot in the arm Thursday when the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) launched a 72 million U.S. dollars four-year program to boost agricultural productivity by small holder rural farmers.

Head of DFID Zimbabwe Annabel Gerry said the program will increase incomes and reduce poverty among small holder farming households in eight chronically food and nutrition insecure districts.

“DFID believes in ending aid dependency through job creation. This programme will enable rural communities to become self- sufficient, growing their own food, and providing an income,” said Gerry.

The Livelihoods and Food Security Program will be managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), GRM International and Coffey among other partners.

Apart from contributing to poverty reduction, the program will also address specific constraints that smallholder farmers, particularly women, face in raising productivity of their farms and enabling them to sell the food they produce in markets, Gerry said.

Farmers will also be equipped with skills to deal with shocks and stresses that are exacerbated by the effects of climate change, through introduction of proven climate smart agriculture technologies.

The four-year program will be implemented through two main components aimed at raising smallholder farm productivity and linking them to profitable commercial markets.

The program launch comes at a time when Zimbabwe will record food deficits this year due to unreliable weather patterns.

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