Russia-Ukraine war: AfDB provides $1.5 billion to tackle food crisis in Nigeria, other African countries

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has announced the provision of $1.5 billion for the Africa Emergency Food Plan to mitigate the effect of Russia-Ukraine war which is expected to trigger a global food crisis.

This is coming about a week after the President of the World Bank Group, David Malpass, said that Nigeria and other developing countries are faced with sudden price increases for fertilizer and food, among others, due to the war in Ukraine and Covid-19 related shutdown.

This was disclosed by Adesina during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he also raised the alarm that there may be a fertilizer crisis in Africa which will cause about 2 million metric tons deficit.

Steps taken by AfDB to avert food crisis in Africa

Adesina, during the meeting with President Buhari briefed him on the steps taken by AfDB to avert a food crisis in Africa, in the foreseeable future. He noted that already, the price of wheat has gone up about 60%, while maize and other grains will also be affected.

The AfDB President said, “Already, the price of wheat has gone up about 60%. Maize and other grains will also be affected. There may be fertilizer crisis, as there would be about 2 million metric tons deficit. And that will affect food production by about 20%. Africa will lose $11 billion worth of food, and coming shortly after COVID-19, that would be rather serious.”

In preparation for the expected food crisis, Adesina said, “The AfDB had developed a $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Plan, which is now before the bank’s Board for approval.

“We were not ready for COVID-19, but we are now planning to avert food crisis on the continent. There is plan to help farmers cultivate wheat, maize, rice, sorghum, and soybeans. It will mitigate the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war.”

Adesina, who was a former Minister of Agriculture under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, said that with respect to Nigeria, at least 5 million smallholder farmers would be helped to cultivate 1 million hectares of maize, 1 million hectares of rice, and 250,000 hectares of sorghum and soybeans, respectively during the rainy season.

He said, “In total, our support will help Nigeria to produce 9.5 million metric tons of food.”

He pointed out that the states that will benefit from the assistance include Kano, Ogun, Oyo, Kaduna, Imo, Cross River, and the Federal Capital Territory.

What you should know

  • The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has set off a chain reaction in the global economy which has negatively been impacting even developed countries.
  • The World Bank had earlier urged advanced countries to keep markets open, remove trade barriers and reverse policies that concentrate wealth in the face of high energy and food prices, increasing debt concerns and potentially worsening poverty and hunger.
  • Ukraine is a key source of grain while Russia is a major producer of energy and fertilizer needed for agriculture, and the war is creating sudden shortages of energy, fertilizer, and food.
  • The AfDB had earlier said it will partner with African countries to combat high prices of fertilizer through improving sustainable infrastructural efficiencies, including storage and fixing infrastructure required for food production.

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