The African Development Bank has said that it will spend $24bn on agriculture across African nations in the next 10-year period in a bid to fight hunger ravaging one billion people across the world.
Purdue University Agriculture Conference
The President of the bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this at an agriculture conference at the Purdue University in Indianapolis, United States, according to a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday.
Adesina called on the bank’s global partners to join hands with it to lift one billion people worldwide out of hunger, adding that the AfDB would lead the way by investing $24bn in African agriculture over the next 10 years.
“We are not winning the war against global hunger. We must not get carried away,” he said, referring to statistics showing a decline in the global population of people living on less thanUS$2 per day.
In reality, the number of hungry people in the world had increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, Adesina said, citing the latest World Food Security and Nutrition data.
The AfDB President told the audience that included researchers, implementing organisations, business leaders, policy makers and donors that simple technical and scientific methods were already making a difference to farm yields and income in Africa.
While such technologies to deliver Africa’s green revolution exist, they are mostly just sitting on the shelves, he said.
Adesina stated, “The release of water-efficient maize varieties now allows farmers to harvest good yields in the face of moderate drought.
“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.
The need to harness available technologies
“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.”
The AfDB experts put current comparative yields at 1.5 to two tonnes per hectare for rice and 10-15 tonnes per hectare for cassava.
The bank said it had inaugurated the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation, a $1bn initiative to extend the use of farm technologies.
The 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.
Combining targeted subsidies for farmers with a market-based system for rapidly expanding access to financing for farmers and agricultural value chains is the fastest way to get many people out of poverty to a sustained pathway for economic growth, Adesina added.