SENEGAL – African Development Bank (AfDB) has issued its first financing under the recently approved US$1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, an initiative to avert a looming food crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

On May 20, the Bank’ Group’s Board of Directors approved the Facility, which will provide agricultural seeds to 20 million African farmers.

The goal is to produce over the next two years an additional 38 million tons of food, primarily wheat, maize, rice and soybeans worth US$12 billion.

The first beneficiaries of the fund are 850,000 Senegalese small-scale farmers, as the board of the developmental institution has issued €121 million (US$121m) loan to the West African country for implementation of an emergency agricultural programme.

“Senegal’s dependence on the outside world for basic commodities and foodstuffs is a real bottleneck and poses a threat to the country’s food sovereignty, which has been sharpened by the war in Ukraine.

“This operation is intended to mitigate exogenous financial, economic, social and climate shocks and to maintain the upward trend in cereal production seen in recent years, especially by focusing efforts on the availability of key inputs including seeds and fertilizers to producers,” said Mohamed Chérif, the Bank’s Country Manager for Senegal.

The Emergency Food Production Programme has three components: improving access to certified seeds and advisory support; strengthening farmers’ access to fertilizers; and enhancing governance and implementation of public policies in the agricultural sector.

Under the first component, the programme will help provide 7000 tonnes of cereal seeds, 3000 tonnes of cowpea seeds and 15,000 tonnes of seed potatoes to farmers in the country.

In addition, a partnership agreement between the Senegalese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment and the Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research will facilitate a supply of pre-basic seeds.

This will enable at least 850 seed multipliers, 25% of them women, to receive pre-basic seeds. As a result, roughly 350,000 additional hectares will be cultivated to produce about 600,000 tonnes of cereals (rice, maize, and millet), 120,000 tonnes of cowpea and 150,000 tonnes of potatoes.

The second component of the project will support procurement of 118,000 additional tonnes of fertilizer in 2022 and 2023.

This component will also support the undertaking of a diagnostic study to overhaul the fertilizer distribution system and improve the subsidy program for agricultural inputs. The pilot phase of an initiative to digitize inputs will target 20% of fertilizer beneficiaries, 35% of whom are women.

The third component will entail an assessment and updating of the country’s Agro-Sylvo Pastoral Policy Law (2004-2025); the Letter of Agricultural Development Sector Policy (LPSDA 2019-2023); validation of the Agricultural Programme for Food Sovereignty and Sustainability (2021-2025); and preparation of a national in dex/climate insurance programme.

Set to run for two years, a five-year ramp-up phase will follow afterwards to deliver seeds and inputs to 40 million farmers under the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program across the region.

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