(Business in Cameroon) - The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced the disbursement of $1.5 billion (CFA927.7 billion) to help African countries withstand the current food crisis. The money, which will be provided under the African Emergency Food Production Facility, will benefit 20 million smallholder farmers. They will receive certified seed and technology to rapidly produce 38 million tons of food.
“The African Development Bank will provide fertilizer to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four farming seasons, using its convening influence with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees, and other financial instruments,” the statement reads. With this strategy, the African bank will foster the production of 11 million tons of wheat; 18 million tons of maize; 6 million tons of rice; and 2.5 million tons of soybeans.
“The Facility will also create a platform to advocate for critical policy reforms to solve the structural issues that impede farmers from receiving modern inputs. This includes strengthening national institutions overseeing input markets,” said AfDB. Speaking about the new facility, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, said: “food aid cannot feed Africa. Africa does not need bowls in hand. Africa needs seeds in the ground, and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally. Africa will feed itself with pride for there is no dignity in begging for food.”
According to AfDB data, the price of wheat has increased by more than 45% in Africa since the war in Ukraine began. Fertilizer prices have risen by 300% and the continent is facing a fertilizer shortage of 2 million tons. Many countries, including Cameroon, have already seen an increase in the price of bread and other food products. If this shortfall is not addressed, food production in Africa will fall by at least 20% and the continent could lose more than $11 billion (CFA6,818.3 billion) in food production value, the Bank said.