The World Bank’s Board of Directors have approved a $ 50 million project to increase the availability of agricultural technologies in Angola and Lesotho.
The project is part of the ongoing World Bank-financed Southern Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (APPSA), which encompasses other countries in the region such as Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
According to a World Bank document, APPSA’s approach to agricultural technology contemplates the need to improve the competitiveness and resilience of African agriculture, using regional integration as a central mechanism to achieve higher rates of growth and reduction of poverty.
Although there has been an increase in agricultural productivity in southern Africa, average incomes in Angola and Lesotho are still below the regional average.
Therefore, this project should contribute to reducing this gap through additional investment in dissemination and adaptation to technology.
“This project will help researchers, farmers, agricultural extension workers, factor distributors and end users in Angola and Lesotho to strengthen links with each other and with the other participating countries,” said Mark Cackler, manager of the Area of Agricultural Practices of the World Bank.
The World Bank added is in line with the twin objective of helping to reduce extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in the countries covered.
Agriculture continues to be the main source of livelihood, employment and income for the majority of the 330 million people living in the Southern Africa region.
However, despite the fertility of land and water resources in the region, productivity in the agricultural sector has not yet been fully exploited, which has hampered economic transformation.
On this path, activities funded under APPSA include the generation of technology and dissemination activities for R & D associated with commodity groups or technology themes targeted by the participating countries, as well as the strengthening of the environment institutional framework for adapting to technology in these countries.
These activities are in line with regional programs and policies, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) and the African Union’s Integrated Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) , according to the document.
World Bank funding of $ 50 million comes from $ 20 million from the International Development Association (IDA) and $ 25 million from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
Another five million are from the Southern African Agriculture Coordination Center (CCARDESA), as a facilitator of the partnership.