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World Food Day: It’s time for world leaders to invest in African agriculture (By Beth Dunford)

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World Food Day: It’s time for world leaders to invest in African agriculture (By Beth Dunford)

We must step up the implementation of modern and climate-smart farming practices

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 17, 2021 / APO Group / –

By Beth Dunford

More than six in ten people in sub-Saharan Africa work in the continent’s agricultural sector. We might not realize that what grows from African soil can be linked to some of the most popular foods in the world.

Africa produces the world’s largest supply of cocoa, used in chocolate bars and other products. Coffee beans grown in Ethiopia and Uganda, which dominate Africa’s coffee exports, were valued at nearly $ 2 billion last year.

The volume of African commodity exports is increasing. At the same time, more and more Africans are facing food insecurity. About 246 million Africans go to bed hungry every night. The pace of Africa’s agricultural growth does not keep pace with Africa’s population growth.

On World Food Day, it is time for African and world leaders, as well as development organizations, to join the African Development Bank Group’s call for increased investment in agricultural technologies that boost Africa’s food production and food security in the face of climate change.

The continent has immense potential to feed itself and become a breadbasket for the world: about 65 percent of the Earth’s remaining uncultivated arable land is in Africa. However, this potential is threatened by extreme erratic weather conditions. It is also stunted because the majority of African food producers are smallholder subsistence farmers. We need to step up the implementation of modern and climate-smart farming practices.

African Development Bank Group investments are helping African farmers put more food in the mouths of more Africans. Since the Bank launched its Feed Africa strategy in 2015, more than 74 million people have benefited from access to improved agricultural technologies, resulting in higher food production.

Our flagship program, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) has provided 11 million farmers in 29 African countries with proven agricultural technologies such as drought tolerant maize, heat resistant wheat, high seed varieties. yield and seed treatments to protect against pests like the fall armyworm, which has devastated African crops in waves of hungry, winged swarms.

TAAT has produced amazing results in less than three years. African food production has increased by more than 12 million metric tons. TAAT reduced Africa’s food imports by $ 814 million. We’re on track to meet our goal of reaching 40 million farmers with modern, climate-resilient technologies.

Aligned with the theme of World Food Day 2021, “Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life”, the Bank provides higher food production, access to more nutritious food and helps farmers adapt to environments impacted by climate change. We advocate for gender-sensitive policy reform and inclusive development.

Combined, these activities increase the incomes of women and men in agriculture and contribute to a better quality of life for Africans along the food value chain.

The Bank’s Positive Financing for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative aims to reduce the financing gap faced by women businesses across the continent, including women working in agriculture.

AFAWA has just invested $ 20 million in a project to finance climate-resilient agricultural practices in Ghana. It will target hundreds of women-led businesses through lines of credit with Ecobank Ghana, and provide them with vocational training in climate-friendly agriculture.

We are on the right track, but we need to do more. At a recent “Feed Africa” ​​event organized by the Bank and the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development, more than a dozen African heads of state and other world leaders endorsed the establishment of ‘a financing mechanism for food and nutrition in Africa. The Facility offers a new approach to investing in agriculture and agro-industry, based on five pillars:

Scaling up proven, climate-appropriate, science-based production and other technologies;

• Create an environment conducive to improving agricultural production. Governments must commit to adopting policies and regulations that facilitate access to modern technologies;

• Build a critical backbone infrastructure linking production areas to markets and processing at national and regional levels in Africa;

• Overcrowding of private sector investments and access to finance. Private sector investment and business expertise will increase the commercial viability of the food supply chain, as well as the inclusion of more small and medium enterprises and smallholder farmers;

• Support for a special African fund for emergency relief against famine and drought.

The Facility plans to mobilize $ 1 billion over the next two years from green funds and bilateral and multilateral donors to support these pillars. We need more buy-in from governments, development partners, the private sector and foundations to scale up investments in this Facility.

The African Development Bank envisions a food secure Africa that uses cutting-edge technologies, adapts creatively to climate change, and develops a new generation of ‘agripreneurs’ – young people and empowered women who will modernize and industrialize the world. Agriculture.

The Finance Facility aims to accomplish this by bringing in smart ‘agritechs’ to help millions of other African farmers double the yields of major crops, produce enough food to feed an additional 200 million people and reduce cases of malnutrition. Join us.

• Beth Dunford Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank

Short Link: https://wp.me/pcj2iU-3D4L

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