State Raises U.S.$2 Billion to Boost Agro Sector Output

THE Government has raised a total of US$2.125 billion for the implementation of the National Agricultural Investment Plan (NAIP) which aims at increasing agricultural productivity.

About $2.730 billion is required for implementing the NAIP in line with the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) over the next five years from 2014 to 2018.

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Wylbur Simuusa said the resources for the execution of the agriculture plan have been mobilised by the Government and other partners amounting to $2.125 billion.

He said financial resources to meet the cost of implementing the NAIP would come from the Government allocation, cooperating partners and other stakeholders in the sector.

Mr Simuusa said there was an estimated financing gap of approximately $605.23 million over the next five years but also indicated that the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) had released some resources towards the programme.

In an interview in Lusaka, Mr Simuusa said the GAFSP had also contributed some funds towards the implementation of the plan, saying that the financing gap had significantly reduced.

“We have managed to secure a total of $2.125 billion to carry out some of the programme as we look for other resources to seal the financing gap,” Mr Simuusa said.

“We have managed to get some resources from the GAFSP and now you will see that the $605.23 million will reduce and we don’t have to raise all that money like now because it is a five year programme,” he said.

Mr Simuusa said the ministry was discussing various financing options with the Ministry of Finance which include issuing of the bond to seal the financing gap.

Recently, Mr Simuusa said the Government was considering issuing another $1 billion international bond specifically targeting the agricultural sector.

The eurobond could be issued before the end of 2014 which he said would specifically deal with financing challenges in the agricultural sector.

The NAIP was launched last year.

CAADP aims at achieving and sustaining a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development on the African continent by country allocating at least 10 per cent of its annual budget towards agriculture.

In Zambia, CAADP implementation is intended to support and strengthen the implementation of National Development Plans such as the Sixth National Development Plan.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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