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Adesina: AfDB Investing $25bn Over 10 Years In Africa’s Agriculture 

The President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has said that the AfDB is, over a 10-year period, investing $25 billion in Africa’s agricultural sector in order to boost food production and for the sector to be a source of wealth to the continent.

Adesina revealed this in an exclusive interview with ARISE NEWS, where he said that the best way to change the way of life of many of those living in rural areas is to make agriculture a wealthy sector, as agriculture is one of the major occupation of rural area dwellers.

Adesina said, “When I got to the African Development Bank, the first thing I had to let central bank governors and ministers of finance understand is that, you know, it’s something where you got inflation, and of course, we all know that in macroeconomics it’s pretty straightforward, in times of tightening money supply and you raise interest rate and make people save more money and all that.

“But the fact is that in many African countries, majority of African countries, is that if you look at the consumer price index, 65% or 70% or 75% of that is the price of food. And so, if I am trying to manage it from just the monetary policy side, you can’t succeed. You therefore have to have a structural approach to that.

 “So I am very big on making sure you can drive the price of food down. So that’s why at the African Development Bank, when I became President, I put top priority on Food and Agriculture. And we are investing over a 10 year period, $25 billion into agriculture.”

The former minister for Agriculture then revealed that he had set up a board that was providing technological support for African farmers to help increase their yield of crops, saying, “In agriculture, if you can, you have to have high performing technologies to raise the yields of farmers so you can produce more and make more money and lower the cost of production. So I set up something with approval of our board called Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation and, I’m not going to go into all the details, but basically what it does is that taking high performing technologies and putting it in the hands of farmers, not hundreds, millions and millions of farmers.

“Smallholder farmers, medium scale farmers, but largely 80% of them are smallholder farmers. You know. So, what we did was- I’ll give you an example. In the last five years, that platform has delivered high yielding technologies for 13 million farmers across many African countries.”

He then gave an instance of how the bank had assisted Ethiopia and how it could spread to the rest of Africa as he said, “In Ethiopia, we supported them to have access to heat tolerant wheat varieties. You know, wheat is a temperate crop, but in a context of climate change, you are able to get technologies that can grow the tropical environment very well for wheat.

“I was talking with the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Abe of Ethiopia, so in 2018 they started with 5000 hectares. You know how much grew this year of those varieties? 2.1 million hectares. Ethiopia became self-sufficient in wheat in three years. This year, Ethiopia became a net exporter of wheat.”

He then said, “I am convinced that since Africa has 65% of all the arable land left uncultivated in the world, that’s going to be the source of wealth for us.”

Watch full interview on the Morning Show on Thursday, March 7. 

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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