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AfDB To Supply Certified Wheat, Seeds To 20Mn Farmers

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, on Monday disclosed that the bank was set to deliver climate-adapted, certified wheat and other staple crop seeds to 20 million farmers in the continent.

Adesina, who gave this hint in a document titled ‘Averting an African Food Crisis: The African Food Production Facility’ in Abuja, said the move was part of activities by the development finance institution to tackle food crisis in Nigeria and other African countries.

According to him, the delivery of seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilizers would be done through the bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility and by so doing help farmers in the continent to produce 38 million additional tonnes of food items.

The development finance banker further explained part of the objective of the initiative was to achieve a 30 percent increment in local  food production worth an estimated $12 billion while also helping in attracted improved global investments in Africa’s agricultural sector and enhanced governance and policy reforms.

Adesina said: “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 added.

Noting that food aid cannot feed Africa because Africa does not need bowls in hand, the AfDB’s boss stressed that Africa needs seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally.

He assured that Africa would feed itself with pride because there is no dignity in begging for food.

Adesina said that the African Emergency Food Production Facility had benefited from stakeholder consultations and lamented the spiking prices of wheat and fertilizer in the continent as the Russia-Ukraine war continues to disrupt food and agricultural inputs supply chains over the past months.

Specifically, he noted that the price of wheat had soared in Africa by more than 45 percent since the war started just as prices of fertilizer had also increased by 300 percent, causing the continent to be grappling with estimated two million metric tonnes of fertilizer shortage now.

He elaborated: “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 fertilizer to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four farming seasons.

“This will be done using its convening influence with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees and other financial instruments”, the development finance expert added.

Adesina further disclosed that the facility would create a platform to advocate critical policy reforms to solve the structural issues that impede farmers from receiving modern inputs and also help in strengthening national institutions overseeing input markets.

According to him, the facility had a structure for working with multilateral development partners to ensure rapid alignment and implementation, enhanced reach, effective impact and increase technical preparedness and responsiveness.

The AfDB’s President said the strategy also comprise  short, medium, and long-term measures to address the urgent food crisis and long-term sustainability and resilience of Africa’s food systems.

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