The Agriculture Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility (ASPEF) was introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) as part of its quasi-fiscal approaches to agriculture financing in 2005. The fund was to finance agricultural inputs, equipment, and infrastructure provision. The input facility was to procure inputs and loan them to farmers at concessional rates so as to stimulate production given the country’s socio-economic decline. Farmers in resettled areas were also funded for the construction of dams, barns for tobacco processing, and other infrastructure as a capacity building measure. ASPEF funds were allocated to irrigation infrastructure, horticulture, beef cattle support, dairy support, piggery and poultry, crops, and other livestock facility and export promotion. Except for export promotion and horticulture, all other funded areas were allocated 20% each of the ZW$5 trillion (equivalent to US$60 million, Gideon Gono, 2007).
In 2007 the government launched ASPEF in order to support facilities, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, such as livestock production, with a particular emphasis on rebuilding the national herd; the winter wheat program; and food crop production to enhance food security. The government purchased cattle as one of the methods of rebuilding the national herd. The main objective of ASPEF was to increase the national cattle herd by 2.1 million animals within the next three to five years.
This intervention strategy has seen most Zimbabwean farmers being able to sustain production under conditions of economic hardship, whereas without this support, many farmers would have gone under. The productivity enhancement facility required the farmers to support their loan applications with evidence of actual past performance and commitment to reinvesting their own incomes into farming programs that enhance food security. ASPEF was extended to the end of the 2009 summer cropping season.
- Evangelista Mudzonga, Tendai Chigwada , Trade Knowledge Network, Accessed: 24 July, 2020