The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $1.5 billion emergency food facility for farmers.
NewsReport gathered that to forestall an impending food catastrophe brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $1.5 billion emergency food production facility for 20 million farmers across the continent.
The money will go toward helping Africa overcome a food deficit of at least 30 million metric tons caused by the disruption of global food supplies caused by the European crisis, particularly for wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from Russia and Ukraine.
“African farmers urgently want high-quality seeds and inputs before the planting season begins in May to enhance food supplies immediately,” according to the bank.
The African Emergency Food Production facility will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds. It will increase access to agricultural fertilizers and enable them to rapidly produce 38 million tonnes of food. This is a $12bn increase in food production in just two years.
African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina says: “Food aid cannot feed Africa. 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 for there is no dignity in begging for food.”
The facility has benefited from stakeholder consultations, including those with fertilizer producers and separately with African Union agriculture and finance ministers earlier this month.
The ministers agreed to implement reforms to address the systemic hurdles that prevent modern input markets from performing effectively.
The price of wheat has soared in Africa by over 45% since the war in Ukraine began. Fertilizer prices have gone up by 300%, and the continent faces a fertilizer shortage of 2 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% and the continent could lose over $11bn in food production value.
The African Development Bank’s $1.5bn strategies will lead to the production of 11 million tonnes of wheat; 18 million tonnes of maize; 6 million tonnes of rice; and 2.5 million tonnes of soybeans.
The facility will provide 20 million farmers with certified seeds, fertilizer, and extension services. It will also support market growth and post-harvest management.
The AfDB will provide fertilizer to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four farming 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 solve the structural issues that impede farmers from receiving modern inputs. This includes strengthening national institutions overseeing input markets.