Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, has charged Africa countries to harness their agricultural potential and become the global food buffer.
He said that with the Continent occupying about 20 per cent of Earth’s total land area, and 65 per cent of uncultivated arable land, unlocking its potential would make it a solution to global food crisis.
Dr Adesina, who is also a former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria, said: “Africa must become a solution to global food crisis by unlocking the full potential of agriculture sector.”
“What Africa does in agriculture will determine the future of food in the world, because Africa has 65 per cent of all the arable land in the world that is not yet cultivated,” he added.
The AfDB President, said this during the closing press conference at the just ended annual meetings of the Bank in Accra, and urged African countries to ensure quality standards of food produce and export to other countries.
“We had in this meeting from our force of governance that the African Development Bank should do more in other countries, and we will, as you know, ‘Feed Africa,’ is a big strategy for us,” he said.
The Feed Africa strategy for Agricultural Transformation in Africa (2016 to 2025), was initiated to make Africa a net food exporter and move the continent to the top of export-orientated global value chains where it has comparative advantage.
This is aimed at contributing to eliminating extreme poverty in Africa and ending hunger and malnutrition in Africa by 2025.
Dr Adesina said that: “We are going to rump-up support to make sure that even as we deal with the current emergency, we’ll drive structural transformation of agriculture. So, when we talk about agriculture, we’re talking about agriculture to maintain clean wealth for Africa,” he emphasised.
During his remarks at the opening ceremony of the annual meetings, he underscored that there was no dignity in Africa begging other countries for food.
“Africa does not need bowls in hand; Africa needs seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally. Africa must feed itself with pride. There is no dignity in begging for food.”
Dr Beth Dunford, Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, also highlighted the importance of the Bank’s $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Production Facility.
During the Bank’s presentation on its financial statement on the sidelines of the annual meetings, she indicated that the facility was a bold response by the Bank to revolutionise food production within a brief period and mitigate a looming food crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
She said that the Bank has been investing in agriculture, adding, “In particular, we’ve invested in new technologies that help farmers increase their productivity, even in climate change.”