Today, the World Bank approved a $10 million additional financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* to Lesotho's ongoing Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SADP). The added funds are aimed at increasing market output among smallholders in Lesotho's agriculture sector.
Under SADP, which became effective in March 2012, over 55,000 beneficiaries across four of Lesotho's ten districts (Botha-Buthe, Leribe, Berea and Mafeteng) have been provided with grants and technical assistance to boost their productivity and market access. The additional funds will continue support to smallholder development - in the initial four districts, as well as those in Mohale's Hoek and Quthing - with a new added focus on climate-smart production.
"Smallholder farming has great potential to feed people and help boost economic growth. The World Bank is committed to partnering with Lesotho in its endeavor to fight poverty and sustainably grow its economy," said Paul Noumba Um, World Bank Country Director for Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Grants will be awarded to farmers to test and demonstrate new business initiatives and technological innovations, especially those that focus on climate-smart agriculture (agricultural practices that increase productivity, build resilience, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions). Under the additional financing, farmer groups, as well as government agencies will also be supported to improve food quality and safety standards.
"A lot of traction has been made in promoting the commercialization of smallholder agriculture in the various project districts," said Mr. Molapo Mahala, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security. "these added funds will focus on continuing to increase the capacity of farmers in Lesotho and to build more productive climate resilient commercial agriculture systems."
*The World Bank's international Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world's poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for project and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people's lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world's 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa