According to Reuters, African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), an American nonprofit organization, has launched a $40 million joint venture with African Green Resources (AGR), 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.
Zuneid Yousuf, chairman of AGR, said the private sector deal 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.
According to Yousuf, the joint venture will provide the farmers with credit packages for seed, fertilizer, and training. Also, plans are being made to use soya beans and maize to produce animal stock feed, among other products.
Zambia’s 2019/2020 season maize production is projected to increase to over 3.3 million tons from around 2 million tons in the previous season. 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.