The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has made a compelling case, for the United States to back the institution with a $1.5 billion emergency food production plan.
The initiative aims to solve a future food catastrophe in Africa, which is being exacerbated by Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.
Dr Adesina stated the proposed Africa Emergency Food Production Plan would result in the quick production of 38 million tonnes of food across Africa over the next two years, speaking live by videoconference from Accra, Ghana.
“With your help, the African Development Bank is ready to take on this new task and others,” he stated.
The idea is based on providing 20 million African farmers with certified seeds of climate-adapted types.
Africa risks a food deficit of at least 30 million metric tonnes due to the disruption of the food supply caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, particularly wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from the two nations.
The African Development Bank, according to Dr Adesina, will invest $1.3 billion in the plan’s implementation.
He urged the US to make up the funding shortfall.
“We can secure the Africa Emergency Food Production Plan’s success with US cooperation to close the $200 million finance gap,” he stated.
The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors is now considering the Africa Emergency Food Production Plan.
TjadaD’Oyen McKenna, Chief Executive Officer of the non-governmental organization Mercy Corps, and David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, also testified.
“A perfect storm is causing heightened global food insecurity, considerably worse than prior food crises over the past decade,” McKenna warned.
The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, she said, are both contributing to the current food insecurity.
Food insecurity, according to Mr Beasley, had already begun to rise rapidly before the war.
He estimated that 135 million individuals were food insecure before the outbreak. “With COVID-19, that number jumped from 135 million to 276 million individuals on the verge of hunger.”
The African Development Bank’s food production plan, according to Dr Adesina, will encourage the production of nutritious food rather than just calories. “Bio-fortified foods will be one of the things we promote through this emergency food production plan.”The iron content of sorghum is increased. He stressed the importance of nutritional supplements.
The Bank president said the bank was setting up meetings with international fertiliser companies to discuss ways to ensure that African farmers continued to have access to such inputs.
“If we don’t solve the fertiliser problem, we cannot solve the food problem.
According to Dr 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.
The bank’s president stated that meetings with foreign fertiliser companies were being scheduled to discuss how to ensure that African farmers continued to have access to such supplies.
“We cannot solve the food crisis unless we solve the fertiliser problem.”
The Africa Emergency Food Production Plan, according to Dr. Adesina, will have a long-term influence on Africa’s food productivity.
He claims that the project will “push fundamental improvements in agriculture, allowing Africa to realize its full potential as a global breadbasket.”