AFRICA – The African Development Bank Group has raised a call for all African and global leaders as well as development organizations, to increase investment in agricultural technologies that boost Africa’s food production and food security in the face of climate change.
The continent has immense potential to feed itself and to become a breadbasket to the world as about 65 percent of the Earth’s remaining uncultivated, arable land is in Africa.
However, that potential is threatened by erratic weather extremes. It is also stunted because a majority of African food growers are subsistence smallholder farmers.
With around 246 million Africans going to bed hungry every night, it signified that the pace of Africa’s agricultural growth is not keeping up with the region’s population growth.
This revelation was made by the African Development Bank Group as it marked the World Food Day, revealing that its investments are helping farmers put more food in the mouths of more Africans.
Since the Bank launched its Feed Africa Strategy in 2015, more than 74 million people are benefiting from access to improved agricultural technologies, resulting in higher food production.
“Our flagship program, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) has provided 11 million farmers across 29 African countries with proven agricultural technologies such as drought-resistant maize, heat-resistant wheat, higher-yielding seed varieties and seed treatments to protect against pests like the fall armyworm, which has been devastating African crops in waves of hungry, winged swarms,” highlighted AfDB.
TAAT has produced astonishing results in under three years as African food production has expanded by more than 12 million metric tons.
The initiative has also reduced Africa’s food imports worth US$814 million. “We are on our way to reaching our target of reaching 40 million farmers with modern and climate-resilient technologies,” stated the bank.
Aligned with the World Food Day 2021 theme, “Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life,” the Bank is set to deliver higher food production, access to more nutritious foods and helping farmers adapt to environments impacted by climate change.
It also advocates for gender-sensitive policy reform and gender-inclusive development.
Combined, these activities are raising incomes for women and men in farming and contributing to a better quality of life for Africans all along the food value chain.
AfDB encourages women participation in agriculture sector
The Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative aims to reduce the access to financing gap women businesses face across the continent, including women working in agriculture.
AFAWA has just put US$20 million into a project on financing climate-resilient agricultural practices in Ghana.
It targets hundreds of women-led enterprises through lines of credit with Ecobank Ghana, as well as provide them skills training on climate adaptive farming.
Further to that AfDB is creating a financing facility for Food and Nutrition in Africa.
The Facility expects to mobilize US$1 billion over the next two years from green funds, bilateral and multilateral donors to help millions of more African farmers to double major crop yields, produce enough food to feed an additional 200 million people and reduce incidents of malnutrition.
The African Development Bank envisages a food-secure Africa that uses advanced technologies, creatively adapts to climate change and develops a new generation of “agripreneurs” — empowered youth and women who will modernize and industrialize agriculture.