Development partners and a coalition of multilateral development banks in a bold bid to address rising hunger on the African continent and to also improve food security, have pledged some $17 billion in financing agricultural productivity on the continent.
At the high-level dialogue themed Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations and held by the African Development Bank and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), African heads of States present at the dialogue and on the back of the pledge expressed commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies, investing in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development.
Of the overall amount pledged, more than US$10 billion came from the African Development Bank, which said it would invest $1.57 billion on scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next five years to help countries achieve self-sufficiency.
Another $8.83 billion will be spent by the Bank towards building strong value chains for agricultural commodities also over the next five years.
On its part, IFAD said it will provide an additional $1.5 billion to Africa to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems over the next three years.
“We praise the African leaders’ commitment to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security for millions of Africans,” said IFAD President, Gilbert F. Houngbo.
“By modernizing African agriculture, small-scale farmers will be in a better position to bring more affordable food to consumers and create decent livelihoods for millions of young Africans involved in the processing, storage and marketing of food,” he added.
Present at the dialogue was Senegalese President, Macky Sall, who announced interventions to be made by African heads of states in a seven-point action list.
The interventions include;
- Accelerate agricultural production by taking technologies to scale
- Increase investment in research and development
- Optimize technology
- Improve business language in agriculture to open up to the world
- Support access to markets and the installation of basic infrastructure and equipment
- Invest in new businesses to transform agricultural produce to support small producers
- Create a facility for agricultural transformation.
Sub-Saharan Africa has a quarter of the world’s arable land but only produces 10 per cent of its agricultural output. The low productivity of staple crops makes African agriculture uncompetitive.
As a result, the continent imports one-third of the calories consumed. This makes food systems more vulnerable and dependent on external food supply chains.