The African Development Bank (AfDB) says the heat-tolerant wheat production technology being supported by the Bank in Nigeria, will help boost wheat production.
Ms Beth Dunford, AfDB’s Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, said this in an interview at the Bank’s 2022 Annual meetings in Accra, Ghana, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
The AfDB stated that the goal would be to reduce the importation of the product by 40% by 2023. Dunford added that the support would come under the Bank’s $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Production Facility.
What AfDB is saying
According to Dunford, the technology is presently being used in Nigeria, where it is being cultivated on 87,000 hectares, with the potential to expand to 250,000 hectares this season.
She stated that the Bank was now trying to determine how much of the money will be awarded to each country, emphasizing that the fund was open to all countries on the continent.
Dunford stated that the assistance aimed at smallholder farmers would help them increase production.
She said, “This is the basis of the 1.5 billion dollars Africa Emergency Food Production Facility that was just approved by the Board. This facility will be supporting the African government to reach 20 million farmers with improved technologies like the heat-tolerant wheat to produce 38 million tonnes of food on the continent.”
She added “We will do this in an emergency way to scale up production to mitigate crisis in a way that will provide the foundation for agricultural transformation, to drive economies and sustain livelihoods in Africa and Nigeria. Every country is eligible but we are working on that now but again, building on the work that is already on-going in Nigeria to scale up quickly.”
She stated that heat-tolerant wheat technology would have a significant influence on food and assist farmers in increasing production.
“The technologies will be adapted to local conditions needed in each context like in flood, heat. There are also technologies that we can work on to deploy which are needed in Nigeria which you know is very diverse with different climates.”
”We will be working across different crops, technologies across the country in different states,’’ she added.
According to Dunford, agriculture provided a living for two-thirds of Africans. She stated that the issues in the industry created by climate change and the Russian-Ukraine conflicts were linked to the continent’s existing high poverty level.
“Absolutely, given that two-third of the people in Africa depend on agriculture for their livelihood. It is not just the farmers but those within the food system, it could be the processors, transporters, and aggregators. The whole agriculture economy fuels the livelihood of the economy in the continent so if this sector is suffering, everybody suffers.”
“There is a big connection to poverty but the growth of the agricultural sector is on track with the launch of many agricultural transformation projects in the continent by the Bank,’’ she added.
In case you missed it
- The African Development Bank has approved a $1.5 billion emergency food production facility for about 20 million farmers in Africa. The fund is expected to help avoid a looming food crisis exacerbated by the war between Russia and Ukraine.
- The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, says that the financial institution would lend $500 million to women in 2022. He added that the Bank would also raise $5 billion for women businesses in Africa