The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched an initiative to ensure food sufficiency on the continent.
Dubbed: the Africa Emergency Food Production Facility (AEFPF), the initiative intends to equip 20 million farmers with climate-resilient technology to produce 38 million tonnes of food, worth $12 billion, to feed the continent.
It was launched in response to the current food crisis on the continent, instigated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, two countries on which many African countries depend for wheat, maize, sunflower oil and barley.
According to the multilateral development bank, Africa should not be going with cap in hand begging for food when the continent held 65 per cent of the world’s arable land.
“Africa should not go cap in hand to beg for food. No! Africa should produce to feed its citizens,” the President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwunmi A. Adesina, said.
Dr Adesina announced the initiative at the bank’s high-level ministerial panel discussion on adaptation and agriculture at the just-ended COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt.
The panel discussion was on the theme: “Mobilising innovative financing to build resilient and sustainable food systems on the African continent.”
The panel was made up of the ministers of Agriculture of Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Ali Ngouille Ndiaye and Dr. Abu Karim, respectively.
It also included the Minister of International Development of Norway, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.
Dr Adesina said the initiative was based on the successful implementation of a programme, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), that delivered heat-tolerant wheat, drought-tolerant maize and high-yield rice varieties to 11 million farmers on the continent in the last three years.
He said the initiative could build on the momentum with African leaders supporting farmers to adapt to climate change to boost food security.
“This will include 11 million metric tonnes of wheat, 18 million metric tonnes of maize, six million metric tonnes of rice and 2.5 million metric tonnes of soybeans.”
“The facility prioritises boosting the local production of cereals and oil grains as the most effective and efficient way to build the resilience of Africa’s food systems to mitigate risks to supply in the short to medium term, while building the food systems Africa will need by 2050,” he added.
The AfDB President further said the Russia-Ukraine conflict had exposed the vulnerabilities of most African countries, as some of them depended on Ukraine and Russia for wheat, maize, sunflower oil and barley.
“Ukraine and Russia are significant exporters of these agricultural commodities, accounting for 30 per cent of the world’s wheat, 27 per cent of barley, 17 per cent of maize and 70 per cent of sunflower oil.”
“According to the World Bank’s April 2022 commodity market outlook, the war in Ukraine had altered global patterns of trade, production and consumption of commodities, leading to historically high prices that could persist through the end of 2024, exacerbating food insecurity and inflation,” he said.
Dr Adesina said the government of Senegal, the AfDB and the African Union Commission would co-convene a high-level summit in Dakar, Senegal, from January 25-27, 2023, to be attended by African leaders and development partners.
“At the summit, Heads of State will convene meetings to develop food and agricultural delivery compacts of their respective countries to reshape the agricultural transformation agenda, solicit buy-in from the development partners and the private sector and commit to political action on implementation,” he added.