JOHANNESBURG - The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday announced that it was investing U.S.$24 billion in African agriculture over the next 10 years, and called on global partners to join hands to lift one billion people worldwide out of hunger.
Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president said the world was not winning the war against global hunger as statistics show a decline in the global population living on less than two dollars per day.
"The African Development Bank put feeding Africa as one of its topmost priorities when it launched its Feed Africa strategy in 2015 and is investing U.S.$24 billion in agriculture for Africa over 10 years – the largest ever such effort," Adesina said.
The Feed Africa Strategy is supporting the development of policies, markets, infrastructure and institutions that will ensure that agricultural value chains are well developed and that technologies reach several million farmers across Africa.
According to the latest World Food Security and Nutrition data, the number of hungry people in the world had increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016. The International Food Policy Research Institute estimates that Africa will add 38 million to its number of hungry people by 2050 as a result of climate change.
Adesina said that simple technical and scientific methods were already making a difference to farm yields and income in Africa.
"The release of water efficient maize varieties now allows farmers to harvest good yields in the face of moderate drought," Adesina said.
"Today, rice varieties exist that can give yields of eight tonnes per hectare. Cassava varieties exist with yields of up to 80 tonnes per hectare. Heat tolerant and disease resistant livestock and technologies for ramping up aquaculture exist."
Adesina said what was needed urgently was deployment of supportive policies to ensure technologies are cascaded down to millions of farmers.
"All Africa needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right policies and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers and assure lower food prices for consumers," he said.
AfDB has launched its Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), a U.S.$1 billion initiative to extend the use of farm technologies. TAAT is currently engaging seed companies, public and private entities, and financial institutions in 27 countries to make technology available to a total of 40 million African farmers.
The bank's ongoing initiatives had the objectives of growing income for farmers, stabilizing prices for staple crops, reducing losses and stimulating multiplier effects in local economies.
- African News Agency (ANA)