African Development Bank Board Approves $1.5 Billion Facility to Avert Food Crisis

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(AfDB) – Initiative for the benefit of 20 million African farmers, who will receive certified seeds and technology to rapidly produce 38 million tons of food.

The board of directors of the African Development Bank Group on Friday approved a $1.5 billion facility to help African countries avert a looming food crisis.

With the disruption of food supplies resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian war, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food, particularly wheat, corn and soybeans imported from the two countries.

African farmers urgently need high-quality seeds and inputs before the start of the planting season in May to immediately boost food supplies. The 1.5 billion dollars from the African Development Bank African Emergency Food Production Facility is an unprecedented global initiative to help smallholder farmers close the food gap.

The African Emergency Food Production Facility will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds. 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 doesn’t need handmade bowls. there is no dignity in begging for food…”

The African Emergency Food Production Facility benefited from consultations with stakeholders, including those with fertilizer producers and separately with African Union agriculture and finance ministers earlier this month.

Ministers agreed to implement reforms to overcome systemic barriers that prevent modern input markets from operating effectively.

The price of wheat has risen in Africa by more than 45% since the start of the war in Ukraine. Fertilizer prices have increased by 300% and the continent faces a fertilizer shortage of 2 million metric tons. Many African countries have already experienced price hikes for bread and other food items. If this gap is not closed, food production in Africa will decline by at least 20% and the continent could lose over $11 billion in food production value.

The African Development Bank’s $1.5 billion strategy will lead to the production of 11 million tonnes of wheat; 18 million tons of maize; 6 million tons of rice; and 2.5 million tons of soybeans.

The African Emergency Food Production Facility will provide 20 million farmers with certified seeds, fertilizers and extension services. It will also support market growth and post-harvest management.

The African Development Bank will provide fertilizer to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four agricultural seasons, using its convening influence with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees and other financial instruments.

The Facility will also create a platform to advocate for critical policy reforms to address structural issues that prevent farmers from receiving modern inputs. This includes strengthening national institutions that oversee input markets.

The Facility has a structure for working with multilateral development partners. This will ensure rapid alignment and implementation, increased reach and effective impact. This will increase technical readiness 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 African food systems.

Dr Beth Dunford, African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, said: “Africa Emergency Food Facility builds on lessons learned from African Development Bank initiative https://www.afdb.org/en/documents/feed-africa-response-covid-19-brief”>Fueling Africa’s response to Covid-19 program. This 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 Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation provided heat-tolerant wheat varieties to 1.8 million farmers in seven countries, increasing wheat production by 2.7 million metric tons, valued at $840 million.

Long-term sustainability to wean Africa off 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 earlier gains and strengthen self-sufficiency in wheat, maize and other staple crops, as well as expanding access to agricultural fertilizers.

The five-year phase will provide seeds and inputs to 40 million farmers under the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program.

Click https://www.afdb.org/en/topics-and-sectors/initiatives-partnerships/african-emergency-food-production-facility”>here to learn more about the African Emergency Food Production Facility.

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