AFDB injects $10billion to cushion COVID-19 impact on agriculture
• Recommends solutions to avert food crisis
The African Development Bank (AFDB), has provided about $10billion to implement strategic roadmap of projects and programmes of immediate and longer term measures to tackle nutrition and food crisis situation in the Continent.
This is part of the measures to assist Nigeria and other African countries mitigate impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the agriculture sector.
The AFDB Feed Africa Response to COVID-19 (FAREC), is part of the banks comprehensive intervention to build resilience, sustainability and regional self-sufficiency in Africa’s food systems and help farmers cope with coronavirus-related disruptions to the agricultural value chain.
The Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, said the Bank’s response is in effort to address the challenges faced by African countries across agriculture value chain, as Africa cannot afford a food crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report released alongside the roadmap recommends immediate, short-and medium-term solutions for the agriculture sector including; support of food delivery for the most vulnerable; stabilization of food prices; optimization of food processing; extension support services, and provision of key agricultural inputs through smart subsidies.
According to the report, the Bank will prioritize policy support to enhance movement of inputs and food, to establish food security task forces in countries, and to strengthen the capacity of regional organisations to monitor multi-country initiatives.
The World Food Programme had disclosed that over 40 million West Africans face food shortages in the coming months, as the pandemic has worsened volatility in the price of food staples and complicated food system and actors’ investment decision-making, as the confluence of impacts risks is deepening food insecurity and malnutrition.
In May, the Bank’s African Development Institute (ADI), its focal point for capacity development, hosted a seminar that examined the pandemic’s impacts on Africa’s agri-food systems and offered policy recommendations to make them more resilient and efficient.
“Ensuring food security for Africans in all situations is at the core of the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy. Our institution will coordinate its efforts with different stakeholders across the continent to effectively answer the needs of regional member countries,” said Dr. Martin Fregene, Director of the Bank’s Agriculture and Agro-industry Department.