Workshop examines lessons from various African projects – Zambia

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Zambian government held a regional workshop for East and Southern Africa over three days during May. The workshop focused mainly on reviewing lessons learnt from previous IFAD-funded projects. It also aimed to identify strategies to address challenges faced during project implementations in Africa.
Zambia’s finance minister, Alexander Chikwanda, and Wilbur Simuusa, its minister of agriculture and livestock, opened the session by joining the director of IFAD, Périn Saint Ange.
The workshop attracted more than 200 participants including government officials, United Nations (UN) agencies representatives, members of the private sector and civil society groups and bilateral development institutions.
In keeping with the UN designation of 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming, and the African Union declaring
2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security, family farming and agricultural investment was a central focus of this
week’s workshop.
“Africa’s leaders are placing a greater priority on agriculture today because they recognise that the sector has not met the
continent’s needs and expectations,” said Saint Ange.
He added that small farmers were central to this process since they produced most of Africa’s food. “Yet they face daunting challenges of low productivity, poor access to markets, insufficient capital, and the disruptive impact of climate change. We need to seize on this moment of high economic growth in the region to provide small farmers with the support they need to
provide food and decent incomes for themselves and for the region as a whole.”
IFAD, an international financial institution, has in the past 30 years financed 13 projects in Zambia believed to have  benefited more than half a million households.
The institution is based in Rome and works with underprivileged rural communities in Africa by implementing various projects that provide a means to abled working members of a community to sustain their homes and families. Since its founding in 1977, IFAD has supported national efforts to improve the lives of farmers and their families in Africa and developing countries. It has 44 ongoing programmes and projects in 18 countries around East and Southern Africa.
Five more projects were approved last year for Ethiopia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda, and Zambia. These totalled an
investment of $159 million (R1.67 billion). – International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); www.ifad.org