President, African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwumi Adesina says the bank is set to deliver climate-adapted, certified wheat and other staple crops seeds to 20 million farmers. Adesina said this in a document titled, “Averting an African Food Crisis: The African Food Production Facility” and obtained on Monday in Abuja. He said the initiative, which was part of activities by the bank would tackle food crisis in African countries including Nigeria. The president said the delivery of seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilisers would be done through the bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility. Adesina said within the next two years, the facility would allow farmers to produce 38 million additional tonnes of food.
He said that part of the plan was a 30 per cent increment in local production worth an estimated 12 billion dollars. He also said that it would facilitate better global investment in Africa’s agricultural sector. Adesina said that the facility would also support enhanced governance and policy reforms. “From the onset, the African Development Bank realised the strategic need to tackle the devastating impact of the war on Africa’s food security. It is important to prevent unrest and even more human suffering. In May, the bank established a 1.5 billion dollar African Emergency Food Production Facility. In less than 60 days, it put into action 1.13 billion dollar-worth of programmes under the facility across 24 African countries. Half a dozen more programmes are expected to get underway by September as more governments apply to the facility,’’ he said.
According to him, food aid cannot feed Africa because Africa does not need bowls in hand. “Africa needs seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally.
“Africa will feed itself with pride because there is no dignity in begging for food.’’ The president said that the African Emergency Food Production Facility had benefited from stakeholder consultations. He said the price of wheat had soared in Africa by more than 45 per cent since the war in Ukraine began. Adesina also said fertiliser prices had gone up by 300 per cent while the continent faced a fertiliser shortage of two million metric tonnes. Many African countries have already seen price hikes in bread and other food items. If this deficit is not made up, food production in Africa will decline by at least 20 per cent and the continent could lose more than 11 billion dollars in food production value. The bank’s 1.5 billion dollar strategy will lead to the production of 11 million tons of wheat, 18 million tons of maize, sic million tons of rice and 2.5 million tons of soybeans. The bank will provide fertiliser to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four farming seasons.
“This will be done using its convening influence with major fertiliser manufacturers, loan guarantees and other financial instruments,’’ he said. Adesina further said it would create a platform to advocate critical policy reforms to solve the structural issues that impede farmers from receiving modern inputs. He said it included strengthening national institutions overseeing input markets. According to him, the facility had a structure for working with multilateral development partners. This he said would ensure rapid alignment and implementation, enhanced reach, and effective impact. The president also said it would increase technical preparedness and responsiveness. He said it included short, medium, and long-term measures to address both the urgent food crisis and long-term sustainability and resilience of Africa’s food systems. (NAN)