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Sunday, August 14, 2022

AfDB Approves $1.5 bn To Strengthen Food Security

The Board of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a $1.5 billion facility to help African countries avert the looming food crisis.

The ‘African Emergency Food Production Facility’will support about 20 million African small holder farmers with certified seed fertilizer, loan guarantees, and technology to rapidly produce 38 million tons of food.

In addition,short, medium, and long-term measures will be implemented to address both the urgent food crisis and the long-term sustainability and resilience of Africa’s food systems.

The farmers will produce 11 million tons of wheat; 18 million tons of maize; 6 million tons of rice; and 2.5 million tons of soybeans.

This is a $12 billion increase in food production in just two years.

With the disruption of food supplies arising from the Russia-Ukraine war, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from both countries.

The Bank, in a release,described the assistance as an unprecedented comprehensive initiative to support smallholder farmers in filling the food shortfall.

African Development Bank Group President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said, “Food aid cannot feed Africa. 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 for there is no dignity in begging for food…”

The Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development,Dr. Beth Dunford, said, “The Africa Emergency Food Production Facility builds on lessons learned from the African Development Bank’s Feed Africa Response to Covid-19 program. That program has provided a strategic roadmap to support Africa’s agriculture sector and safeguard food security against the pandemic’s impact.”

Over the past three years, the Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation initiative has delivered heat-tolerant wheat varieties to 1.8 million farmers in seven countries, increasing wheat production by 2.7 million metric tons, worth $840 million.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri

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