The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it is set to deliver climate-adapted, certified wheat and other staple crops seeds to 20 million farmers in Nigeria and other African countries.
The initiative, which includes the delivery of seeds and increased access to fertilisers, would be done through the bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility as part of activities to tackle the food crisis in African countries.
Akinwumi Adesina, president of the multilateral finance development institution, stated this in a recent document titled “Averting an African Food Crisis: The African Food Production Facility”.
The AfDB president lamented that the price of wheat had soared in Africa by more than 45 percent since the war in Ukraine began, and fertiliser prices by 300 percent while the continent faced a fertiliser shortage of two 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 percent and the continent could lose more than $11 billion in food production value,” he remarked.
Speaking on AfDB’s plan towards addressing the challenge, Adesina said the bank in May established a $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility and in less than 60 days, it put into action $1.13 billion-worth of programmes under the facility across 24 African countries.
“Half a dozen more programmes are expected to get underway by September as more governments apply to the facility,” he said.
Adesina said the facility which, had benefitted from stakeholder consultations, would allow farmers to produce 38 million additional tonnes of food within the next two years and would be channelled towards supporting enhanced governance and policy reforms across the continent.
He added that part of the plan was a 30 percent increment in local production worth an estimated $12 billion expected to facilitate better global investment in Africa’s agricultural sector.
The AfDB president expressed optimism that the bank’s $1.5 billion strategy 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 bank will provide fertiliser to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four farming seasons,” Adesina said.
“This will be done using its convening influence with major fertiliser manufacturers, loan guarantees and other financial instruments,” he said.
Adesina further said the initiative would create a platform to advocate critical policy reforms to solve the structural issues that impede farmers from receiving modern inputs, and strengthen national institutions overseeing input markets.
He noted that the facility included short, medium, and long-term measures to address both the urgent food crisis and long-term sustainability and resilience of Africa’s food systems. He also emphasised that the bank had implemented a structure for working with multilateral development partners to ensure rapid alignment and implementation, enhanced reach, and effective impact.