THE Zambian Government will receive over US$33.5 million to be used to enhance child school feeding programmes to end malnutrition.

Zambia’s ambassador to Italy Gertrude Mwape said the money provided by Rome Based Agencies, World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) would go towards capacity building of small holder farmers to enable them diversify and participate in the school feeding programme.

She was speaking in response to the drastic weather changes as a result of Elnino phenomenal that has affected several parts of Southern Africa.

“So the embassies and other NGOs that work in collaboration with the three organisations have been calling on the need for the three Rome Based Agencies to collaborate their work in order to have a greater impact on the beneficiaries.

“US $33.5 million has been allocated as support for Zambian Government towards agriculture support programmes in line with the good will policy to increase the number of children from one million benefiting from the home grown school feeding programme in the country,” she said.

She explained that all this was in response to the negative effects of the sudden change of weather on agriculture.

Ms Mwape  said WFP was concerned that because of the Elnino, Zambia would no longer be able be the bread basket She explained that small holder farmers stand to benefit from the fund aimed at building capacity for  increasing yields, crop diversification, improved nutrition value for the produce as well as create market for increased income for the farmers

She said the programme required collective efforts from all stakeholders including civil society, the church and the Government to work with the three world organisations in implementing the project to enhance domestic food production with special attention to bad weather and enhanced nutrition value.

Ms Mwape disclosed that there was already a programme involving the three RBA in livestock farming which provided funding and expertise for over 180,000 farmers in Zambia.

She said the RBAs were already working together in securing world food security but that there was need for more collaboration in implementation.

She was speaking ahead of President Edgar Lungu’s visit to Italy for high level discussions with FAO and IFAD on their collaboration with the Zambian Government to enhance small holder farming in the country.

President Lungu is expected in Italy’s Capital, Rome on Thursday enroute to the Vatican at Pope Francis’ invitation after which he is expected to meet FAO and IFAD before proceeding to France on Saturday for a State visit at the invitation of that country’s President Franciós Holland.

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