By Cecilia Ijuo, Abuja.
The President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, says the bank is set to deliver climate-adapted, certified seeds of wheat and other staple crops to 20 million farmers.
Adesina said this in a document titled “Averting an African Food Crisis: The African Food Production Facility”, which was obtained on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the initiative, which was part of activities by the bank. would tackle food crisis in African countries, including Nigeria.
He said that the delivery of seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilizers would be done through the bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility.
Adesina said that within the next two years, the facility would enable 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 particularly support enhanced governance and policy reforms.
“From the onset, the African Development Bank realised the strategic need to tackle the devastating impact of the (Russia-Ukraine) 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,” he said.
The president said that the African Emergency Food Production Facility had benefited from stakeholder consultations.
He noted that the price of wheat had soared in Africa by more than 45 per cent since the war in Ukraine began.
Adesina also said that fertilizer prices had gone up by 300 per cent, while the continent faced a fertilizer 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, six 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,’’ he said.
Adesina said that it would also create a platform to advocate critical policy reforms to solve the structural issues that impede farmers from receiving modern inputs.
He said that the strategy included strengthening national institutions overseeing input markets.
According to him, the facility has a structure for working with multilateral development partners.
He said that this would ensure rapid alignment and implementation, enhanced reach and effective impact.
Adesina also said that it would increase technical preparedness and responsiveness.
He added that this 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.