By Zayamu Hassan
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has appealed to the United States to support the bank with $1.5 billion for its emergency food production plan.
President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, who stated this, said it was in an effort to avert the looming food crisis in Africa, the President of
Speaking at the meeting with US Senate subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, recently,
He explained that there looming global food insecurity and persisting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adesina disclosed that the proposed Africa Emergency Food Production Plan would result in the rapid production of 38 million tons of food across Africa over the next two years.
“The African Development Bank, with your support, is prepared to meet this new challenge and others head-on,” he said.
The plan, he explained, is anchored on the provision of certified seeds of climate-adapted varieties to 20 million African farmers.
With the disruption of food supplies arising from the Russia-Ukraine war, Africa faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from the two countries.
Dr Adesina noted that the African Development Bank would invest $1.3 billion in the plan’s implementation.
He, therefore, called on the US to make up the funding balance. “With US support to reduce the $200 million financing gap – we can ensure the Africa Emergency Food Production Plan’s success,” he said.
Adesina emphasized that the African Development Bank’s food production plan would foster the production of nutritious food rather than simply calories, reiterating that: “One of the things we will be supporting through this emergency food production plan is bio-fortified foods. Sorghum fortified with iron. Nutritional supplementation is important.”
The AfDB president said the Bank was setting up meetings with international fertilizer companies to discuss ways to ensure that African farmers continued to have access to such inputs. “If we don’t solve the fertilizer problem, we cannot solve the food problem,” he stressed.
According to Adesina, the Africa Emergency Food Production Plan would have a long-term impact on Africa’s food productivity. The initiative will “drive the structural changes in agriculture, to unleash the full potential of Africa to become a breadbasket to the world,” he said.
On his part, Senator Coons, Chair of the Senate subcommittee, stressed that the US should move fast and provide sufficient funding. “We should be concerned and even alarmed about the widening food security crisis that this war is causing for hundreds of millions far beyond Eastern Europe,” he said.
On her part, the Chief Executive Officer of Non-Governmental Organization (Mercy Corps), Ms. Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, said: “A perfect storm is leading to heightened global food insecurity, worse, much worse than the previous food crises over the past decade.”
She cited the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change as factors sharpening the current food insecurity.