Agra unveils $550 million fund to tackle food insecurity in Africa

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The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) has unveiled a $550 million catalytic fund for the next five years to boost efforts to improve food security on the continent which continues to struggle to feed itself.

Under the new policy, Agra is targeting 28 million farmers in 15 countries to boost agricultural productivity and incomes.

Over the next five years, from 2023 to 2027, the focus will be on improving seed systems, engaging governments, agricultural supply chains and mitigating climate change.

Experts say smallholder farmers in the region remain vulnerable to shocks and bear the brunt of current external pressures, including climate change and rising prices of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer. of climate change. Multi-seasonal droughts in East Africa and extreme weather events like cyclones in Southern Africa have already changed everything,” said Agra Chairman Hailemariam Desalegn.

Productivity ChallengesThe fund was unveiled on Thursday at the annual Agra Summit (AGRF) in Kigali.

Mr. Hailemariam, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, added: “Covid-19 has put supply chains under intolerable pressure. The commodity price crisis, exacerbated by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, is undermining food security and agriculture everywhere”. “We want farmers to be able to get and keep access to the right seeds, at the right price and at the right time,” he said.

The challenge facing most African countries is how to increase productivity and reduce food imports.

While figures from Agra show that agricultural productivity increased by an average of 13% each year between 2015 and 2020, it remains the lowest in the world. Worse still, one in five people in Africa was still malnourished in 2020, and the current shortage of fertilizers creates additional vulnerability.

Empowering farmers to produce and earn more requires access to input choices, and when those inputs give a clear yield differential, farmers adopt and life changes. “Rwanda has launched the bean challenge, sending Rwanda bean to the rest of the world, encouraging people in other parts of the world to eat and grow Rwanda bean. “This bean is fortified with iron and you can harvest up to “at 4.5 metric tons per hectare of this bean. This bean has real value to a farmer growing it. It’s technologies like this that can change the lives of farmers and shift them into traditional economies,” said Dr. Kalibata.

Agra estimates that Africa today imports at least $50 billion worth of food that can be produced locally, and by 2030 that could rise to $110 billion. It calls for a radical transformation of African food systems to ensure food security and provide diverse and nutritious choices for their people.

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