ADB invests sh91 trillion in agriculture

By Vicky Wandawa

The Bank has launched its technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), a $1billion initiative to extend the use of farm technologies.

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The African Development Bank has invested US$24 billion (about sh91trillion)  in African agriculture over the next 10 years and thereafter called on global partners to join hands to lift one billion people worldwide out of hunger, according to a press release from African Development Bank.

“We are not winning the war against global hunger,” Bank President Akinwumi Adesina told an agriculture conference at Purdue University in Indianapolis on  Tuesday.

“We must not get carried away,” he added, referring to statistics showing a decline in the global population living on less than two dollars per day.

In reality, the number of hungry people in the world had increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, he said citing the latest World Food Security and Nutrition data.

Adesina told the audience that included researchers, implementing organisations, business leaders, policymakers and donors that simple technical and scientific methods were already making a whole difference to farm yields and income in Africa. ‘’While such technologies to deliver Africa’s green revolution exist, they are mostly just sitting on the shelves, ‘’ he said.

“The release of water efficient maize varieties now allows farmers to harvest good yields in the face of moderate drought,” he noted.

“Today, rice varieties exist that can give yields of eight tonnes per ha. Cassava varieties exist with yields of up to 80 tonnes per ha. Heat tolerant and disease resistant livestock and technologies for ramping up aquaculture exist.

Bank experts put current comparative yields at 1.5-2 tonnes per ha for rice and 10-15 tonnes per ha for cassava.

What was needed urgently was deployment of supportive policies to ensure technologies are cascaded down to millions of farmers. “All Africa needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right policies and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers and assure lower food prices for consumers.”

The Bank has launched its technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), a $1 billion initiative to extend the use of farm technologies.

TAAT is currently engaging seed companies, public and private entities, and financial institutions in 27 countries to make technology available to a total of 40 million African farmers.