African Development Bank Board approves $1.5 billion facility to avert food crisis
NNN: The board of the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) on Friday approved a $1.5 billion facility to help African countries avert a looming food crisis.
With food supply disruption stemming from the Russia-Ukraine war, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food, especially imported wheat, corn and soybeans from both countries.
African farmers urgently need high-quality seeds and inputs before the planting season begins in May to immediately increase food supplies. The African Development Bank’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Fund is an unprecedented comprehensive initiative to help smallholder farmers fill food gaps.
The African Emergency Food Production Fund will provide certified seeds to 20 million small African farmers. It will increase access to agricultural fertilizers and allow them to quickly produce 38 million tons of food. This is a $12 billion increase in food production in just two years.
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 abundant food produced locally. Africa will feed itself with pride for there is no dignity in begging for food…”
The African Emergency Food Production Fund has benefited from stakeholder consultations, including those with fertilizer producers and, separately, with the African Union’s agriculture and finance ministers earlier this month.
Ministers agreed to implement reforms to address the systemic obstacles that prevent modern input markets from working effectively.
The price of wheat has soared in Africa by more than 45% since the war in Ukraine began. Fertilizer prices have risen 300% and the continent is facing a fertilizer shortage of 2 million metric tons. Many African countries have already seen increases in the prices of bread and other foods. If this shortfall is not made up, food production in Africa will decline by at least 20% and the continent could lose more than $11 billion in value of food production.
The $1.5 billion strategy of the African Development Bank will lead to the production of 11 million tons of wheat; 18 million tons of corn; 6 million tons of rice; and 2.5 million tons of soybeans.
The African Emergency Food Production Fund will provide 20 million farmers with certified seeds, fertilizer and extension services. It will also support market growth and post-harvest management.
The African Development Bank will provide fertilizer to Africa’s small farmers for the next four farming seasons, using its convening influence with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees and other financial instruments.
The Fund will also create a platform to advocate for critical policy reforms to address the structural problems that prevent farmers from receiving modern inputs. This includes strengthening national institutions that oversee input markets.
The Fund has a structure to work with multilateral development partners. This will ensure rapid alignment and implementation, increased reach, and effective impact. It will increase technical preparation and responsiveness. Furthermore, it includes short-, medium- and long-term measures to address both the urgent food crisis and the long-term sustainability and resilience of Africa’s food systems.
Dr Beth Dunford, Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank, said: “The Africa Emergency Food Production Fund builds on lessons learned from the African Bank’s Feed Africa Response to Covid-19 Development (https://bit .ly/3yPQS9h) program. That program has provided a strategic roadmap to support Africa’s agricultural sector and safeguard food security against the impact of the pandemic.”
Over the past three years, the Bank’s African Agricultural Transformation Technologies initiative has delivered heat-tolerant wheat varieties to 1.8 million farmers in seven countries, increasing wheat production by 2.7 million metric tons, per a value of $840 million.
Long-term sustainability to steer Africa away from wheat and other food imports
A five-year ramp-up phase will follow the two-year African Emergency Food Production Facility. This will build on previous achievements and strengthen self-sufficiency in wheat, maize and other staple crops, as well as expand access to agricultural fertilizers.
The five-year phase will deliver seeds and inputs to 40 million farmers under the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation programme.
In April, UN Secretary General António Guterres appointed Adesina to a select Steering Committee of the Global Crisis Response Group.
The US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations recently invited Adesina to make a presentation on the African Emergency Food Production Facility.
The Global Alliance for Food Security, led by the Government of Germany, provides an excellent forum for the African Emergency Food Program Fund, which is part of a coordinated and collective effort by development partners and countries to accelerate short-term food production while continuing to focus on medium- and long-term actions to build resilience.
For the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) supported by the Government of France, the African Development Bank (AfDB) partners with IFAD and has agreed to be part of the FARM coordination team and steering committee. The African Emergency Food Program Fund lays the foundation for and complements FARM activities, which aim to strengthen local production systems in Africa and reduce food loss to support the development of sustainable and resilient food systems.
Click here (https://bit.ly/3Nv2eUq) for more information on the African Emergency Food Production Fund.
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