International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN agency that focuses on agriculture and people in rural areas, calls for greater investment by governments and development partners in sustainable developmen

African Countries Commit to Double Agricultural Productivity

By Abdi Ali
Published May 3, 2021

Gilbert F Houngbo, President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said By modernizing African agriculture, small-scale farmers will be in a better position to bring more affordable food to consumers and create decent livelihoods for millions of young Africans involved in the processing, storage and marketing of food.Seventeen African heads of state have pledged to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies, investing in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development.

Though one-quarter of the world’s arable land is said to be in sub-Saharan Africa, the region is said to be producing  just 10 per cent of its agricultural output.
The low productivity of staple crops not only makes African agriculture non-competitive but also makes the continent of one billion people
dependent on external food supply chains.

RELATED: Inconsistent Laws and Discriminatory Traditions Rob Wives of Matrimonial Property Rights

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank ,called for a stronger partnership: a partnership for greater scale; a partnership to take technologies and innovations to hundreds of millions of farmers.It therefore makes sense when Africa’s leaders take cognissance of the sad scenario and commit themselves to changing the narrative. This could be what could
have motivated the 17 African heads of state who attended Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations, a two-day meeting in Rome, Italy, to
issue a seven-point list on their commitment:

  • Accelerate agricultural production by taking technologies to scale
  • Increase investment in research and development
  • Optimize technology
  • Improve business language in agriculture to open up to the world
  • Support access to markets and the installation of basic infrastructure and equipment
  • Invest in new businesses to transform agricultural produce to support small producers, and
  • Create a facility for agricultural transformation.

RELATED: Police Brutality During Curfew Leaves Several Dead, Others with Life-Threatening Injuries

The hosts of the April 29 – 30 meeting–Africa Development Bank and UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in partnership with Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and CGIAR System Organization–said they shall relay the outcome of the meeting to the UN Secretary General as
Africa’s commitments towards the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021.

That a coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners pledged more than US$17 billion in financing in a bid to address rising hunger on
the African continent and to improve food security seemed to be a boost to the resolve of African leaders.

RELATED:Eastern African States Draft Joint Agreement to Tackle Arab Gulf Worker Exploitation

Of the overall amount pledged, more than US$10 billion came from the African Development Bank, which said it would invest US$1.57 billion on scaling up 10
selected priority commodities over the next five years. This will help countries achieve self-sufficiency. Another US$8.83 billion go towards building strong
value chains for these commodities over the next five years. This will include programmes to create opportunities for young people – particularly women.

IFAD said it aimed to provide an additional US$1.5 billion to Africa to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems over the next
three years. IFAD will also invest more in creating the pre-conditions for increased agricultural productivity.

RELATED: Kenya Launches Digital Land Management and Administration System

Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) committed up to US$1.5 billion over the period 2020-2024 in agriculture. The Islamic Development Bank
Group said it would earmark US$3.5 billion in developing the agriculture sector in Africa in the next three years. It said these investments will develop
commodity value chains for both staple food and cash crops.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joining a coalition of development partners, declared that it will invest US$652 million in the next three years. This will
support agriculture research and development initiatives in Africa. This funding is expected to empower 300 million farmers with a host of new innovations.