The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved 24 projects that seek to empower 20 million African smallholder farmers to end reliance on food imported from Russia and Ukraine.
It is understood that the first round of approvals is part of the bank’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility.
‘The facility will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilisers’, the bank said in a statement.
‘It will also support governance and policy reform, which is expected to encourage greater investment in Africa’s agricultural sector.
‘The African Emergency Food Production Facility will enable African farmers to produce 38 million additional tonnes of food over the next two years. This is food worth an estimated $12 billion’.
Africa witnessed a decline in its GDP growth rate to 1.6 percent in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while about 30 million people fell into poverty, and 29 million jobs were lost.
According to AfDB, the Russia-Ukraine conflict could lead to an additional 1.8 to 2.1 million people in Africa being pushed into extreme poverty in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
‘These programmes will deliver much-needed climate-adapted seeds, access to affordable fertilisers and usher in policy reforms to enable the agriculture sector to supply immediate, medium and long-term solutions to challenges faced in regional member countries’, the bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford, said in the statement.
Senegal, Liberia, Niger, Togo, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and South Sudan are some of the beneficiary countries.
Others are Somalia, Eswatini, Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Egypt.
According to AfDB’s African economic outlook for 2022, financing the economic recovery to pre-Covid-19 levels will require additional financing of $432 billion in 2020 to 2022, or roughly $144 billion per year.
Photo source: FAO