On Friday, May 20, 2022, the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced a $1.5 billion (about CFAF 920 billion) support plan for the African agricultural sector. The finance project would help African countries cope with the food crisis threatening the continent. The latter is presently deprived of more than 30 million tons of foodstuffs due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Under the initiative which spans two years, over 20 million African smallholders will access certified seeds, quality fertilizers, and innovative technologies, and this would accelerate the production of 38 million tons of additional food. In detail, the plan is expected to produce 11 million tons of wheat, 18 million tons of maize, 6 million tons of rice, and 2.5 million tons of soybeans.
“The African Development Bank will provide fertilizer to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four cropping seasons, using its leverage with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees, and other financial instruments,” the pan-African institution said.
How can African countries benefit from the facility?
During the AfDB’s Annual Meetings that were recently held in Accra, between May 23 and 27, the Bank’s president, President Akinwumi Adesina (pictured), detailed steps to be taken by countries that want to benefit from the African Emergency Food Production Facility.
“I received a call from [Senegalese] President Macky Sall. He wanted to know what he had to do to benefit from the facility. I told him it was very simple. It’s a needs-based facility. What is important is to develop a project and submit it to AfDB. The Bank will then evaluate it. It will only finance farmers in countries that make the request based on a project submitted by governments,” explained the president of the development finance institution, based in Abidjan.
However, the banking institution insists that requests for support must be supported by the implementation of reforms aimed at “addressing systemic barriers that prevent modern input markets from functioning effectively,” in line with the commitments made by African agriculture and finance ministers to AfDB in early May.