Food Security: “Feed Africa” Strategy Launched
The AfDB-funded project was introduced for the Central African Sub-region on Friday, November 11, 2016.
“Feed Africa” is the newest agricultural transformation strategy intended to fast-track development, end extreme poverty by 2025, eliminate poverty, improve agricultural value chain as well as stop dependence on food imports in the continent. The African Development Bank, AfDB, project was launched in the Central African Sub-region in Yaounde on November 11, 2016, by Cameroon’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Henri Eyebe Ayissi.
The AfDB holds that it is time for Africa to feed itself, noting that there is no reason for the continent to be a net importer of food, spending 35 billion US Dollars annually in 2015. It is even feared that the figure will rise to 110 billion US Dollars by 2025 if nothing is done. This growing challenge is linked to the continent’s 65 per cent of uncultivated arable land which could feed 9 billion people by 2050. The stakes are therefore high, and the AfDB sees in the “Feed Africa” strategy, a way of scaling down rising inflation, dependence on food imports and promoting youth employment.
It is a 24 billion US Dollar project to be implemented over the next ten years. The strategy will involve strengthening a broad range of value chains, the Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industries Department at the AfDB, Chiji Ojukwu, pointed out. He opined that resources will be focused on selected priority agricultural value chains and related agro-ecological zones, based on future demand, competitive advantage and potential to drive massive increases in productivity.
The project will be implemented in a holistic manner, with AfDB experts noting that it will be supported by massive investments- as a business and creator of wealth. The strategy seeks to achieve self-sufficiency in key commodities involving rice, wheat, fish, palm oil, horticulture and cassava. It also intends to move up the value chain in key export-oriented commodities like cocoa, coffee, cotton and cashew. Sorghum, millet, cowpea and livestock will create food security in the Sahel, while the potential of maize, soyabean, livestock and poultry in the Savannah will be reviewed. The “Feed Africa” strategy was endorsed by the Executive Directors of the AfDB in May 2016. AfDB’s Cameroon’s Resident Representative, Racine Kane, disclosed that “Feed Africa” was one of the “Light up and Power Africa,” “Industrialise Africa,” “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa,” projects AfDB champions.