Buhari recommends affordable financing to strengthen Africa’s food output
January 26, 2023183 views0 comments
By Onome Amuge
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for affordable financing to support output of smallholder and commercial farmers, as well as dedicated financing windows from the central banks to promote Africa’s food sustainability.
The Nigerian leader,in a statement titled “How Africa can feed itself, produce surplus for export”,presented at the second edition of the Dakar International Conference on Agriculture”, held in Senegal,noted that access to affordable finance is critical for the success of efforts to support smallholder farmers and commercial farmers.
According to him, commercial banks do not lend much to agriculture due to the perception of high risks.
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‘‘Generally, less than three per cent of total financing by commercial banks in Africa go into agriculture,” he said.
To further boost agriculture finance in the continent, Buhari urged his counterparts to allocate at least 10 per cent of their nations’ budgets to agriculture as agreed in the Malabo Declaration of the African Heads of State and Government.
In his goodwill message to the Feed Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government in Dakar, Buhari lauded the provision of $538.05 million by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), for the first phase of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) for Nigeria programme.
‘I am pleased with the partnership approach used for Nigeria by the multilateral financing institutions, with the African Development Bank providing $210m, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development providing $310m, and the Government of Nigeria providing $18.05m,” he said.
The Nigerian president described the SAPZs as game changers for the structural transformation of Africa’s agricultural sector.
Buhari further expressed confidence that the innovative public-private partnership models will help Nigeria to transform the agriculture sector much faster and use it to generate wealth.
‘‘They will also allow our countries to develop integrated infrastructure around our agricultural processes and add value to the production of crops, livestock, and fisheries,’’ he added.
He, therefore, urged his counterparts to give special attention to the zones as member states develop their food and agriculture delivery compacts.
On measures to address the rising inflation globally and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that have driven up food prices, especially for basic staples such as wheat and maize, Buhari enjoined African leaders to change the state of things by granting farmers more access to quality farm inputs, especially improved seeds, and fertilizers and mechanization.
‘‘We must ensure that we feed ourselves today, tomorrow, and well into the future. The starting point is to raise agricultural productivity,” he said.