The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a total of $1.13 billion in mixed financing emergency facility programmes for 24 countries that consist of eight countries in West Africa; five in East Africa; six in Southern Africa; four in Central Africa and one in North Africa.
According to the the Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development of AfDB, Dr. Beth Dunford, the programmes would deliver the 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 facility is focused 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 tonnes of food. Successful implementation of the facility will deliver 38 million tonnes of food, exceeding the amount imported from Russia and Ukraine. Through the facility, African farmers will produce approximately 11 million tonnes of wheat, 18 million tons of maize, 6 million tonnes of rice and 2.5 million tonnes of soybeans,” AfDB added.
The statement added that the programme would also 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,” the report gathered.
The AfDB Group’s Board of Directors also approved 24, fast-track programmes to help Africa mitigate rising food prices and inflation caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first round of approvals is 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 facility would provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilizers. It will also support governance and policy reform, which is expected to encourage greater investment in Africa’s agricultural sector. The African Emergency Food Production Facility will enable African farmers to produce 38 million additional tons of food over the next two years. This is food worth an estimated $12 billion.