An American non-profit organisation has launched a $40 million joint venture with one of Zambia’s top farm suppliers to boost crop yields and food security as farmers struggle to access finance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the local company said on Sunday. The chairman of African Green Resources (AGR), Zuneid Yousuf, said the private sector deal with U.S-based African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) included a scheme supporting 250,000 mainly subsistence farmers to double their maize yields and help feed around 10 million people in Zambia and the southern African region. Credit packages for seed, fertiliser and training will be provided to the farmers, while plans are also being made to use soya beans and maize to produce animal stock feed, among other products, Yousuf said. The southern African nation is rebuilding an agriculture sector hit hard by a recent drought, with small-scale subsistence farmers who produce over 90% of Zambia’s maize, losing access to markets and seeing a dip in productivity as they battle the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA