Zimbabwe has received a US$26,6 million grant from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to build climate resilience among vulnerable smallholder farmers in the eastern and southern parts of the country.
The project will benefit 2,3 million rural smallholder farmers, mostly women in Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland South.
The funds will be used to revive irrigation schemes, enhance water and soil moisture management and water use efficiency, promote climate-resilient agriculture, improve access to climate information and markets, and building partnerships with the public and private sectors.
Speaking at a workshop on the mainstreaming of climate scenarios in Masvingo district last week, the director in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mr Washington Zhakata said the programme will be implemented with support from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in co-ordination with the Climate Change Management Department (CCMD).
"We have received a grant of US$26,6 million from the Green Climate Fund with an objective aimed at strengthening the country's capacity to integrate climate change considerations into planning, design and implementation of development activities in agriculture and sustainable land management, forestry and energy sectors," he said.
The project comes as a vital intervention to build smallholder farmers' resilience to shocks created by the climate crisis. Extreme events such as droughts, mid-season dry spells, floods and tropical storms (cyclones) have historically adversely affected the country.
"By giving farmers the tools, training and information they need to adapt farming practices and build resilience in face of the climate crisis, we are investing in: the economic and social future of our country; better early warning systems; ending poverty and hunger, and keeping temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius as outlined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change," said Mr Zhakata.
He said the project focuses on scaling up climate resilient agricultural production, diversification and access to climate information and services to help smallholder farmers increase productivity, secure markets and build climate-resilient livelihoods that will improve the overall productivity of the agricultural sector.
"At the national level, the project will accelerate action under the National Climate Change Response Strategy and help reach the country's Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement on climate change," he said.
Zimbabwe is one of the 195 countries that submitted its intended Nationally Determined Contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The fund is instrumental in the implementation of the United Nations' Interim Strategy Note for the country and supporting its economic blueprint towards the attainment of Vision 2030, which seeks to transform the country into an upper middle class economy.