Government has approved the second phase of the Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) project, which include a horticultural component under the popular Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD), officials said.
Sarah George, Acting Permanent Secretary at MOA said ISPAAD will now have a horticulture component comprising production inputs support and farm equipment.
Under the Production Inputs Support (IPS), assistance will be given to farmers to purchase fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and seedlings, whereas farmers will be assisted to acquire drip irrigation and shade nets under the Farm Equipment (FE) sub-component.
Chief Horticulturalist at the MOA, Barutwa Thebenala told Sunday Standard one of the motivations for the new ISPAAD component was to increase production level of horticulture products with a view to diversifying the agricultural production base.
Horticulture sub-sector which is currently not performing at the optimal level stands to be elevated. Some of the known constraints to productive output in this area which include are high input costs high utility tariffs, extreme weather conditions, poor soil fertility, and poor management practices as well as pest and disease outbreaks.
Government support has the potential to significantly improve productivity and increase national output. This will in turn improve the food security at both household and national level. In addition it will earn foreign revenue through export of high value crops.
Thebenala indicated that, although development of water sources for irrigation has not been included under this programme, Government has started exploiting wastewater (effluent) for irrigation in areas where there is potential for agricultural production.
┬áThe Government official intimated that Department of Water Affairs has, in principle to provide water for irrigation where dams would have been constructed.
Support for the IPS is expected to be offered only once a year for the next three years and those eligible for the latter will have one chance in ten years.
The restructuring also resulted in the exclusion of the guinea fowl package in the second phase of LIMID, on the basis that most projects relating to this package did not do well in the first phase.
However to make up for that, “a new package that provides water for livestock in communal areas has been included, which targets small herd owners in areas where water is scarce by assisting them to equip existing boreholes and to reticulate water to grazing areas,” said Sarah George, Acting┬á Permanent Secretary at MOA in a statement.
┬áThe effect of this component in the Phase II or the revised LIMID will be that individual farmers or groups who own more than 200 cattle or equivalent will not be assisted under the water development package.
George further pointed out that under the new package farmers are not required to make contributions but they have to pay for the boreholes operational costs.
In addition, MOA official indicated that in order to improve the turnaround time, packages targeting resource-poor farmers, as well as, the animal husbandry and fodder support package will be approved at District level. Such approval will be done by the District Economic Development Committees.
Only water development and poultry abattoir projects are scheduled to be approved at the Ministry Headquarters to be granted the green light.
“Moreover, assistance will be provided to both groups and individual farmers, and groups will contribute 40 percent of the total cost while individuals will be expected to advance 60 percent for both inputs and farm equipment,” said George.
In conclusion, she intimated that the Ministry was in the process of finalising the details of implementation so as to start receiving applications for the stated support programmes by the end of August 2010.