The President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has revealed that his bank is set to deliver climate-adapted, certified wheat and other staple crops seeds to 20 million farmers. Adesina made this known in a document titled, “Averting an African Food Crisis: The African Food Production Facility”. He said the initiative, which was part of activities by the bank, would tackle food crisis in African countries, including Nigeria. The President said the delivery of seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilizers would be done through the bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility. Dr. Adesina said within the next two years, the facility would allow farmers produce 38 million additional tonnes of food and that part of the plan was a 30 per cent increment in local production worth an estimated 12 billion dollars.
The President assured that it would also facilitate better global investment in Africa’s agricultural sector and that the facility would support enhanced governance and policy reforms. “From the onset, the African Development Bank realised the strategic need to tackle the devastating impact of the war on Africa’s food security. It is important to prevent unrest and even more human suffering. In May, the bank established a 1.5 billion dollar African Emergency Food Production Facility. In less than 60 days, it put into action, 1.13 billion dollar-worth of programmes under the facility across 24 African countries. Half a dozen more programmes are expected to get underway by September as more governments apply to the facility”, he said.
According to him, “Food aid cannot feed Africa because Africa does not need bowls in hand. Africa needs seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally. Africa will feed itself with pride because there is no dignity in begging for food”. The AfDB President said that the African Emergency Food Production Facility had benefited from stakeholder consultations, noting that the price of wheat had soared in Africa by more than 45 per cent since the war in Ukraine began. Dr. Adesina also said fertilizer prices had gone up by 300 per cent while the continent faced a fertilizer shortage of two million metric tonnes. “Many African countries have already seen price hikes in bread and other food items. If this deficit is not made up, food production in Africa will decline by at least 20 per cent and the continent could lose more than 11 billion dollars in food production value … The bank will provide fertilizer to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four farming seasons. This will be done using its convening influence with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees and other financial instruments’’, he disclosed.
Dr. Adesina further said his bank would create a platform to advocate critical policy reforms to solve structural issues that impede farmers from receiving modern inputs. He said this would include strengthening national institutions overseeing input markets. According to him, the facility had a structure for working with multilateral development partners. This, he said, would ensure rapid alignment and implementation, enhanced reach, and effective impact. The President equally said it would increase technical preparedness and responsiveness in the short, medium, and long-term to address both urgent food crisis, long-term sustainability and resilience of Africa’s food systems.