the African Development Bank (ADB) The group’s board of directors announced that it had approved a $1.5 billion facility to help African countries avert a looming food crisis on the continent.
In a statement issued by the bank on Friday, the bank said that with the disruption of food supplies resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian war, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food, especially wheat, corn and soy mainly. imported from both countries.
“The African Development Bank’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility is an unprecedented comprehensive initiative to help smallholder farmers close the food gap,” the bank’s statement said.
He said African farmers urgently needed high-quality seeds and inputs before the start of the planting season in May to immediately boost food supplies.
According to the statement, the initiative will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds and increase access to agricultural fertilizers and enable them to rapidly produce 38 million tons of food.
“This is a $12 billion increase in food production in just two years,” the bank said.
Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the AfDB Group reportedly said: “Food aid cannot feed Africa. Africa doesn’t need handmade bowls. Africa needs seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest abundant locally produced food. Africa will feed itself with pride because there is no dignity in begging for food.
He said the African Emergency Food Production Facility benefited from consultations with stakeholders, including those with fertilizer producers and separately with the African Union agriculture and finance ministers at the start. of the month.
Mr. Adesina explained that ministers agreed to implement reforms to overcome systemic barriers that prevent modern input markets from operating effectively.
He said the price of wheat had risen in Africa by more than 45% since the start of the war in Ukraine.
“Fertilizer prices have increased by 300% and the continent faces a fertilizer shortage of 2 million metric tons. Many African countries have already experienced price hikes for bread and other food items. If this gap is not closed, food production in Africa will decline by at least 20% and the continent could lose over $11 billion in food production value,” the AfDB President said.
The envelope of 1.5 billion dollars from the African Development Bank will lead to the production of 11 million tons of wheat; 18 million tons of maize; 6 million tons of rice; and 2.5 million tons of soybeans, according to the statement.
He said the initiative will provide 20 million farmers with certified seeds, fertilizers and extension services and will also support market growth and post-harvest management.
“The African Development Bank will provide fertilizer to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four agricultural seasons, using its convening influence with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees and other financial instruments” , said the Board of Directors of the AfDB.
The statement highlighted that the facility will also create a platform to advocate for critical policy reforms to address structural issues that prevent farmers from receiving modern inputs.
This, he said, includes strengthening national institutions and overseeing input markets and that the facility has a structure to work with multilateral development partners.
“This will ensure rapid alignment and implementation, increased reach and effective impact. This will increase technical readiness and responsiveness. Furthermore, it includes short, medium and long-term measures to address both the urgent food crisis and the long-term sustainability and resilience of African food systems,” the bank said.
In her remarks, Beth Dunford, AfDB Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, said, “The African Emergency Food Facility builds on lessons learned from the Feed Africa Response to African Development Bank Covid-19.
The program, she said, provided a strategic roadmap to support Africa’s agricultural sector and protect food security from the impact of the pandemic.
Over the past three years, the AfDB said its Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation initiative has provided heat-tolerant wheat varieties to 1.8 million farmers in seven countries, increasing wheat production of 2.7 million metric tons worth $840 million.
Long Term Sustainability Plan
The statement noted that a five-year ramp-up phase will follow the two-year African Emergency Food Production Facility, with a view to building on earlier gains and enhancing self-sufficiency in wheat, maize and other staple crops, as well as expanding access to agricultural fertilizers.
He said the five-year phase will provide seeds and inputs to 40 million farmers under the “Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation” programme.
The statement said that in April, UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Mr. Adesina to a select steering committee of the Global Crisis Response Group.
He noted that the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations recently invited Mr. Adesina to make a presentation on the African Emergency Food Production Facility.
“The Global Alliance for Food Security, led by the German government, provides an excellent forum for the Africa Emergency Food Program Facility, which is part of a coordinated and collective effort by development partners and countries to speed up the production short-term while remaining focused on medium- and long-term actions to build resilience. add the statement.
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