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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

EU gives 15.4 mln euros aid to Zimbabwe farmers

The European Union is providing seed and fertiliser worth 15.4 million euros to small-scale Zimbabwean farmers to boost grain production, an EU diplomat said on Thursday.The EU, which maintains sanctions against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle over charges of human rights abuses and electoral fraud, remains one of the country's largest donors, giving more than 510 million euros since 2002. The head of the European Commission in Zimbabwe, Xavier Marchal, told a meeting of agricultural experts and donors assessing the preparations for the farming season that the EU facility was aimed at improving household food security. "The EC, on behalf of the EU, has signed an agreement with FAO (the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation), which will provide 15.4 million euros to support self-reliance at smallholder farmer level in Zimbabwe", Marchal said. "This programme is part of a wider EC policy aiming at moving this country from food aid to food security."When food shortages were at their peak in 2008, aid organisations were feeding about 7 million Zimbabweans, more than half the population. The EU facility is part of a $74 million fund created by donors, including the World Bank and Britain's Department for International Development, to support up to 700,000 small-scale farmers.

Source: Africa Reuters