AfDB tasks Africa on agric transformation


Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry at the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Martin Fregene, has tasked governments of African countries on agricultural, structural transformation and increased financing to mitigate food challenges on the continent.

Fregene stated this at a virtual forum of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), the second edition of the AfDB’s flagship programme, which held at the weekend.

He said Africa had received some incredible impacts from external shocks for its good supply from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia and Ukraine crisis.

He said: “Africa is having a shortfall of 30 million tons of cereal, mostly wheat and maize due to the war in Ukraine.

“Why don’t we do the structural transformation required to make our agriculture market-led in the sense that it’s the market that provided farmers inputs, often taken from the farmers and ensures they get extension services where they use the best technologies needed for production like the rest of the world.

“There is a huge market in Africa for cereals for food. The market can handle everything about mechanisation, production and finance,” he said.

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The AfDB senior official stated that to get the private sector involved, four things should be put in place, including changes in certified seeds required regulation, increased finance, improved infrastructure and faster method of registering new varieties, inputs and technologies.

“We must have a seed council that would test certified seeds for purity and germination. So, we need to strengthen the seeds system and national regulatory agencies. We don’t only need the relevant laws, but also strong enforcement to ensure that only certified seeds are sold and this will encourage the private sector to key in.

“Also, on fertilisers, of six brands sampled in Nigeria, only one had the required nutrients, which is the NPIC 12: 12: 17 quality and as such control has to be enforced,” he stressed.

Speaking further, Fregene said: “Not just that we must ensure that fertiliser becomes a strategic commodity, but the demurrage for rice and wheat that are given priority at the ports should be reduced before they are offloaded.”

In his presentation, Head, TAAT Clearing House, Dr. Innocent Musabyimna, explained that TAAT programme connects innovative agricultural technologies from research institutes to private sector partners for adoption and scaling.

“This is one of the mechanisms we are using to transform agriculture across the continent. We are bringing all the technologies that are proven, ready to be used into the hands of millions of farmers for deploying,” he stated.

Musabyimana noted that TAAT has been implemented in 28 countries of the continent with 160 proven, high-performing technologies by partnering governments, private sector and farmers.

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