African Development Bank approves US$1.5B global aid package to avert a looming food crisis in Africa

AFRICA—With the African Emergency Food Production Facility, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s Board of Directors approved a US$1.5 billion global aid package to avert a looming food crisis in Africa caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

With the disruption of food supplies arising from the Russia-Ukraine war, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million tons of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from both countries.

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The price of wheat has soared in Africa by over 45 per cent since the war in Ukraine began. Fertilizer prices have gone up by 300 per cent, and the continent faces a fertilizer shortage of 2 million metric tons.

Many African countries have already seen price hikes in bread and other food items. If this deficit is not made up for, food production in Africa will decline by at least 20 per cent and the continent could lose over US$11 billion in food production value, AfDB warns.

The African Development Bank’s US$1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility is an unprecedented comprehensive initiative to support smallholder farmers in filling the food shortfall.

The African Emergency Food Production Facility will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds and increase their access to agricultural fertilizers.

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It will also provide loan guarantees, and other financial instruments while also supporting market growth and post-harvest management.

Additionally, the facility will create a platform to advocate for critical policy reforms that will solve the structural issues impeding farmers from receiving modern inputs. This includes strengthening national institutions overseeing input markets.

This assistance will enable the production of 1 million tons of wheat, 18 million tons of maize, 6 million tons of rice, and 2.5 million tons of soybeans, representing a US$12 billion increase in food production value in just two years, the AfDB statement said.

The Facility has a structure for working with multilateral development partners that will ensure rapid alignment and implementation, enhanced reach, and effective impact. It will also increase technical preparedness and responsiveness.

In addition, it includes 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.

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