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AfDB approves US$1.5 billion facility to avert food crisis in Africa

AfDB E1635344725827 1068x603The African Development Bank The African Development Bank

Sun, 22 May 2022 Source: GNA

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group after extensive stakeholder consultations has approved a US$1.5 billion facility to help African countries avert a looming food crisis.

This is after ministers of finance on the continent had agreed to implement reforms to address  systemic hurdles that prevent modern input markets from performing effectively.

The Emergency Food Production Facility is an intervention designed to benefit some 20 million African smallholder farmers, who will receive certified seeds and technology to produce about 38 million tonnes of food.

 In addition, it has a short, medium, and long-term measures to address both the urgent food crisis and the long-term sustainability and resilience of Africa’s food systems.

It is to yield 11 million tonnes of wheat; 18 million tonnes of maize; six million tonnes of rice; and 2.5 million tonnes of soybeans.

"It will increase access to agricultural fertilizers and enable them to rapidly produce 38 million tonnes of food. This is a $12 billion increase in food production in just two years," the AFDB said in a statement.

It noted that the price of wheat had soared in Africa by over 45 percent since the war in Ukraine began.

Fertilizer prices have gone up by 300 percent, and the continent faces a fertilizer 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 over $11 billion in food production value" the Bank stated.

The facility is known to have a structure for working with multilateral development partners to ensure rapid alignment and implementation, enhanced reach, and effective impact.

The African Development Bank also said it would 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," it said.

  According to food experts, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tonnes of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from both countries due to disruption of food supplies arising from the Russia-Ukraine war.

Source: GNA