Agriculture

AfDB to boost food production with $24b in Africa

As part of efforts to lift billions of people out hunger, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has promised to invest $24 in the African agriculture over the next 10 years.
AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, who disclosed this on Wednesday at an agriculture conference at Purdue University, Indianapolis, challenged global partners to join hands to lift one billion people worldwide out of hunger.
The report, which was released in Abuja, described the fund as the largest of such effort ever.
The bank’s president stressed that all must come together to fight the war.
He noted that the recent five UN agencies’ World Food Security and Nutrition statistics showed a decline in the global population living on less than two dollars per day.
Adesina however said that the statistics in reality showed that the number of hungry people in the world had increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016.
The bank leader warned the stakeholders not to get carried away because they were not winning the war against global hunger.
He told the audience including researchers, implementing organisations, business leaders, policymakers and donors that simple technical and scientific methods were already making a difference in farm yields and income in Africa.
“While such technologies to deliver Africa’s green revolution exist, they are mostly just sitting on the shelves.
“The release of water efficient maize varieties now allows farmers to harvest good yields in the face of moderate drought.
“Today, rice varieties exist that can give yields of 8 tonnes per hectare; cassava varieties exist with yields of up to 80 tonnes per hectare.
“Also, there are heat tolerant and disease resistant livestock and technologies for ramping up aquaculture,’’ he said.
Adesina said what was needed urgently was deployment of supportive policies to ensure technologies were cascaded down to millions of farmers.
“All Africa needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right policies and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers and assure lower food prices for consumers.
He said that the bank had launched its $1 billion initiative for Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), to extend the use of farm technologies.
Adesina said that TAAT was currently engaging seed companies, public and private entities, and financial institutions in 27 countries to make technology available to a total of 40 million African farmers.
He said that the situation in sub-Saharan Africa particularly needed urgent intervention due to the ravages of climate change.

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