African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $ 1.5 billion emergency food production facility for 20 million farmers on the continent to avert a looming crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine The Trumpet gathered.
AfDB disclosed this at the weekend, saying the fund was meant to assist Africa in overcoming the shortage of about 30 million metric tons of food due to the disruption of global food supplies caused by the conflict in Europe, especially for wheat, maize and soybeans imported from Russia and Ukraine.
The bank explained that the facility was designed to boost the local production of cereals and oil grains, as the most effective and efficient way of building resilience across Africa’s food systems, adding: “African farmers urgently need high quality seeds and inputs before the planting season begins in May to immediately boost supplies.”
President of AfDB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said: “Food aid cannot feed Africans. Africa doesn’t need bowls in hand.
Africa needs seeds in the ground, machinery and harvesters to harvest locally produced food. Africa will feed itself with pride, for there is no dignity in begging for food.”
The African emergency food production facility had benefited from stakeholder consultations, including those with fertiliser producers and separately with African Union agriculture and finance ministers this month.
The price of wheat has soared in Africa by over 45 per cent since the Russia and Ukraine war began. Fertiliser prices have also increased by as much as 300 per cent and the continent faces shortage of two million metric tons of fertiliser. Most African countries have already witnessed increases in the prices of bread and other food items.
“If the deficit is not addressed, food production in Africa will decline by at least 20 per cent and the continent could lose over $11 billion in its food production value. The AfDB’s $1.5 billion strategy will lead to the production of 11 million tons of soybeans.
“The bank will provide fertilisers to small holder farmers across Africa in the next four farming seasons with its influence with major fertiliser manufacturers, loan guarantees and other financial instruments,” he stressed.