THE African Development Bank (AfDB) intends to implement the agriculture productivity and market enhancement project (APMEP) at a cost of US$32.12 million in six districts in Zambia.
The scheme will benefit 75,000 people in Chongwe, Chitambo, Gwembe, Rufunsa, Serenje and Sinazongwe districts in a bid to contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction.
The APMEP project will be financed through a grant from Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) to support the operations of the National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP).
AfDB Zambia senior agriculture officer Lewis Bangwe said the project has three components, namely agriculture output to focus on the development of irrigation, aquaculture and livestock, crop diversification and environmental issues.
He said this when AfDB appeared before the parliamentary committee on agriculture chaired by Solwezi East member of Parliament Villie Lombanya last week.
The project will also address value chain development and market linkages to promote agro-processing, among other things.
“While the third element will be the institutional strengthening, which will support food and nutrition security, day-to-day management of the project activities, monitoring and evaluation, the plan will develop 10 small-scale irrigation schemes covering about 2,900 hectares with 12,600 rural farmers including management entities,” he said.
The project will also support aquaculture activities such as the installation of over 280 fish pens and 340 fish cages to benefit 16,000 people on Lake Kariba and Lusiwasi.
“The scheme will develop a viable and sustainable aquaculture programme for smallholder fish farmers towards changing their livelihoods, improved nutritional status and increased income-generating capacity for over 32,000 fish farmers,” Mr Bangwe said.