AfDB, IFAD partner to strengthen food security in Africa

By Mathias Okwe, Abuja |   05 May 2021   |   3:06 am  

The African Development Bank(AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organisation have formed an alliance to address rising hunger on the continent.

At a two-day high-level dialogue that focused on modernising food production,the group observed that the impact of climate change, rising fragility, conflict and locust invasions in east and southern Africa are taking a toll on the continent’s effort to tackle food insecurity.

Finding solutions will require strong backing from governments, development partners and the private sector.

The virtual event brought together government officials, heads of multilateral development banks, development partners, regional organisations, research institutions, business leaders, private sector operators, investment agencies and civil society organisations.

The dialogue was an opportunity to share achievements and lessons from across the African continent and accelerate agricultural transformation. Across the continent, hunger poses an even greater risk than COVID-19. The number of people living with hunger increased from 214 million to 246 million between 2015 and 2020. Agricultural and agrobusiness related activities could provide employment opportunities for millions of young Africans, who account for 70 per cent of the population.

“Getting new and appropriate technologies into the hands of African farmers is a key part of addressing Africa’s agriculture and food security needs. Unless we show strong collective resolve and turn ambition into reality, we will be confronted with enormous food shortages on the continent,” African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said.

“Rapid population growth, urbanisation and ongoing climate change will make this certain. The consequences of not acting would be devastating. Africa has the potential to feed itself and feed the world,” said IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo.

Enhanced productivity, integrated value chains and economies of scale are at the heart of Africa’s food security challenge, participants highlighted.

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