AfDB Board Approves over $1bn for Emergency Food Production Plan

Ugo Aliogo with agency report

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s Board of Directors has approved 24, fast-track programmes to help the continent mitigate rising food prices and inflation caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement by the bank said the first round of approvals were part of the bank’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, established in May, to boost food security, nutrition, and resilience across the continent.

The statement noted that the facility would provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilisers.

It also stated that it would also support governance and policy reform expected to encourage greater investment in Africa’s agricultural sector.

It added that the African Emergency Food Production Facility would enable farmers in the continent to produce 38 million additional tons of food over the next two years, adding that this is food worth an estimated $12 billion.

“As of 15 July, the Bank Group’s Board of Directors had approved a total of $1.13 billion in mixed financing for Emergency Facility programs targeting 24 countries: eight countries in West Africa; five in East Africa; six in Southern Africa; four in Central Africa and one in North Africa,” the statement added.

The Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Beth Dunford, said: “This is a landmark week for the African Development Bank and the African Emergency Food Production Facility. These programs will deliver much-needed climate-adapted seeds, access to affordable fertilizers and usher in policy reforms to enable the agriculture sector to supply immediate, medium and long-term solutions to challenges faced in regional member countries.”

The statement hinted that the African Emergency Food Production Facility was designing programmes to respond to requests from more countries on the continent.

“The facility focuses on staple crops that many African nations largely import from Russia and Ukraine. However, the Russia-Ukraine war has left the continent facing a deficit of at least 30 million tons of food. Successful implementation of the facility will deliver 38 million tons of food, exceeding the amount imported from Russia and Ukraine.

“Through the facility, African farmers will produce approximately 11 million tons of wheat, 18 million tons of maize, 6 million tons of rice and 2.5 million tons of soybeans.

“The programme will build on the success of the Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) platform. Launched in 2019, TAAT delivered heat-tolerant wheat seed varieties to 1.8 million farmers in seven countries. It also increased wheat production by 2.7 million tons, valued at $840 million.”

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