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from DANAI MWARUMBWA in Harare
HARARE – INDIA has contributed almost US$1 million to help tackle climate shocks in Zimbabwe.

The contribution to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), provided through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, will be used to assist more than 5 200 smallholder farmers in Chiredzi and Mangwe districts.

Working alongside partners, WFP Zimbabwe will provide expertise through its Smallholder Agricultural Market Support (SAMS) programme, to strengthen the resilience and capacity of selected smallholder farmers.

The project will promote the cultivation of drought-tolerant small grains and legumes – reducing the negative effects of recurring droughts in Zimbabwe.

Adel Abdellatif, Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, said the contribution will ensure the social protection and resilience of smallholder farmers.

He said innovations to ensure the social protection and resilience of smallholder farmers abound, with India being a distinct leader developing new and context-appropriate practices to mitigate rural poverty.

“This project is focused on increasing small grains production and market access. It will provide a good opportunity for successful Southern practices to be tested and scaled, improving the lives of rural Zimbabweans,” Abdellatif added.

Zimbabwe relies heavily on agriculture – accounting for approximately 70 percent of the populations’ livelihood activity.

It is also critical timing for the country, struggling with consecutive years of drought, cyclones and unpredictable weather patterns.

In 2017, India, in collaboration with UN Office of South-South Cooperation, set up an India-UN Development Partnership Fund, to help countries in the South to achieve their sustainable development goals.

“India and Zimbabwe have friendly relations and I wish this project of climate change mitigation to be an example of successful triangular cooperation,” Ambassador of India to Zimbabwe, Vijay Khanduja, said.

Between 2020-2021, WFP and partners have supported 60 000 smallholder farmers – 70 percent being female-headed households, across 30 rural districts through small grain production activities in Zimbabwe.

“This contribution will go a long way in empowering farmers with the skills needed for sustainable climate-smart agriculture,” WFP Zimbabwe Country Director and Representative, Francesca Erdelmann, said.

– CAJ News