Akinwumi Adesina, the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), says the bank and World Bank would support African farmers with agricultural technologies worth $800 million.
Adesina speaking at the ongoing 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) on Wednesday in Abidjan said the financial support will come under a flagship programme known as “Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation”.
The AfDB boss noted that the technologies to feed Africa exist already, but need to be scaled up for widespread adoption because it required specific incentives.
He added that “agriculture is instrumental in Africa’s poverty and it must be instrumental in its wealth but only through agricultural regeneration.
“No region of the world has ever industrialised without the agriculture sector being first transformed,’’ he said.
Adesina said the future of Africa depended on agriculture and required 40 billion dollars yearly over the next 10 years.
He, however, added that “it is a lot of money, but it is available, even within Africa, if the projects are good enough.
“We must bring an end to the costly and damaging anomaly of the net deficit in food. No more should Africa produce what it does not or cannot consume, and no more should it consume what it does not but could easily produce.”
He disclosed that AfDB was promoting national risk sharing facilities in every country to leverage agricultural finance, similar to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
NIRSA is a facility designed to reduce the risk of lending to Nigerian agriculture value chains.
“The impact in Nigeria was massive because 15 million farmers were reached in four years, 2.5 million of them women, while food production expanded by over 21 million tonnes.
“Today, several African countries are adopting the approach, as well as others such as Afghanistan.”
Adesina predicted that the next few years would see agriculture emerge fully from poverty and subsistence to become the next big booming business sector of Africa.
He said “Africans need to become producers and creators, and not just consumers, in the fast-moving enterprising business of food.
“I am confident that we will soon see Africa’s first tranche of billionaires coming from the farming and food sectors.”