AFRICA – Sub-Saharan Africa has a quarter of the world’s arable land but only produces 10 per cent of its agricultural output.
The low productivity of staple crops makes African agriculture uncompetitive, with the region turning to imports making the food systems more vulnerable.
During the recently held Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations forum, African countries committed to double agricultural productivity as development banks, institutions pledged US$17 billion support to increase food security.
The event was hosted by the Africa Development Bank and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization.
During the event, 17 African heads of state signed on to the commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies, investing in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development.
Further to that, the leaders committed to improve business language in agriculture to open up to the world, invest in new businesses to transform agricultural produce to support small producers, and create a facility for agricultural transformation.
“Let us now create today, a stronger partnership: a partnership for greater scale; a partnership to take technologies and innovations to hundreds of millions of farmers.”African Development Bank President – Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina
Development banks and institutions to offer financial backing
A coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners have also pledged to offer financial backing, with the big chunk of financing of more than US$10 billion to come from the African Development Bank.
AfDB aims to invest US$1.57 billion on scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next five years. This will help countries achieve self-sufficiency.
Another US$8.83 billion will to go towards building strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years. This will include programmes to create opportunities for young people – particularly women.
“Let us now create today, a stronger partnership: a partnership for greater scale; a partnership to take technologies and innovations to hundreds of millions of farmers,” African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said.
IFAD seeks to provide an additional US$1.5 billion to Africa to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems over the next three years.
The UN specialized agency will also invest more in creating the pre-conditions for increased agricultural productivity.
The organization is helping to develop a growing pipeline of investments to restore land, create jobs and build resilience to climate change in the Sahel region.
This will contribute to the Green Great Wall objectives, and will create 10 million jobs in the region by 2030.
“We praise the African leaders’ commitment to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security for millions of Africans.
“By modernizing African agriculture, small-scale farmers will be in a better position to bring more affordable food to consumers and create decent livelihoods for millions of young Africans involved in the processing, storage and marketing of food,” said IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo.
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) committed up to US$1.5 billion over the period 2020-2024 in agriculture.
The Islamic Development Bank Group said it would earmark US$3.5 billion in developing the agriculture sector in Africa in the next three years.
It said these investments will develop commodity value chains for both staple food and cash crops.
In an additional show of solidarity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joining a coalition of development partners, declared that it will invest US$652 million in the next three years.
This will support agriculture research and development initiatives in Africa. This funding is expected to empower 300 million farmers with a host of new innovations.
The outcomes from forum will be communicated to the UN Secretary General as Africa’s commitments towards the UN Food Systems Summit in September this year.
They will lay the foundation for Africa to present a unified voice to step up efforts and partnerships towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE