2 Already dealing with runaway inflation and still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food, especially imported wheat, corn and soybeans from Russia and Ukraine.
3 Fertilizer price increases of more than 300% are making it increasingly difficult for African farmers to grow enough wheat, maize, rice and other crops.
4 A growing number of people in Africa can no longer afford the price of bread.
5 Africa is struggling to mitigate a conflict-induced famine that could push some 30 million Africans to catastrophic levels of food insecurity.
6 It could deepen economic tension and political unrest.
7 With millions struggling to buy food, fuel and fertilizer, anti-government protests are a real possibility.
8 From the outset, the African Development Bank recognized the strategic need to address the devastating impact of war on Africa’s food security.
9 It was important to prevent riots and even more human suffering.
10 In May, the Bank established a $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Fund. In less than 60 days, it launched $1.13 billion worth of programs under the mechanism and in 25 African countries.
11 Half a dozen more programs are expected to launch by September as more governments request installation.
12 The African Emergency Food Production Fund will deliver certified, climate-adapted wheat and other staple crop seeds, and increased access to agricultural fertilizer, to 20 million farmers.
13 Over the next two years, the facility will allow farmers to produce an additional 38 million tons of food, a 30% increase in local production, with an estimated value of $12 billion.
15 While this is a good start, Africa needs the international community to fill a $200 million funding gap for the mechanism.
16 President Joe Biden has endorsed the African Emergency Food Production Fund, and this is a welcome endorsement, as is his endorsement of the African Development Bank’s Africa Disaster Risk Financing Program.
17 To help African governments pay drought and flood insurance premiums and better respond to food insecurity caused by climate change, the Disaster Risk Financing Program is a much-needed futures element of the Fund. To boost agricultural production in Nigeria, Tanzania and Côte d’Ivoire, the Japan International Cooperation Agency recently partnered with the African Development Bank to co-finance programs under the African Emergency Food Production Fund. International development agencies and a growing coalition of nations are also supporting the Africa Emergency Food Production Fund. Launched in 2018, the African Development Bank’s successful flagship Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) program offers technologies in the form of climate-resilient crop varieties: seeds that are resistant to drought, high temperatures or pests, for example.
19 TAAT’s climate-smart seeds enable the wheat crop to thrive in the arid lowlands of Ethiopia, where ordinary wheat varieties generally do not do well.
20 More locally grown wheat has reduced Ethiopia’s dependence on wheat imports.
21 By adopting TAAT, the country did not need to import wheat for the first time this year.
22 With continued support from the Bank, Ethiopia will become a wheat exporter by 2023.
24 That’s enough food to feed 10 million people for 12 months.
25 The African Development Bank knows what works.
26 TAAT has already reached 12 million farmers.
27 We call on our international partners and governments to join us as we expand TAAT through the new African Emergency Food Production Facility.
28 Our commitment to help Africa produce more food by adapting to climate change has won the support of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who recently said that the Bank’s allocation of half of its climate financing to adaptation is the standard to be followed by international development partners.
29 The US Department of the Treasury has endorsed the African Emergency Food Production Fund as part of the International Financial Institution’s Action Plan to Address Food Insecurity, a guide of shortlisted programs for consideration by donor nations .
30 Africa does not need food aid to feed itself.
31 Africa needs adequate investments and seeds in the ground.
32 The Africa Emergency Food Production Fund will provide an immediate solution to the twin global challenges of conflict and climate change, and will play immediate, medium and long-term roles in growing Africa’s agricultural sector as a foundation for resilient African economies .
33 Policy reforms will help drive the structural reforms needed for market-based input distribution and to produce crops more competitively.
36 Adesina is President of the African Development Bank Group.