R24bn fund launched to wean Africa from Russian wheat

Africa’s largest multilateral lender announced a $ 1.5 billion (~ R24 billion) fund to increase grain production to help ward off potential food shortages resulting from Russia’s war with Ukraine.

The African Development Bank will use the facility to provide some 20 million farmers with certified climate-friendly seeds and fertilizers. This will facilitate the rapid production of 38 million tons of food – including wheat, corn, rice and soybeans – equivalent to an increase in production of $ 12 billion over two years, the Abidjan-based lender said Friday. in a statement sent by WhatsApp.

“The African emergency food production facility is designed to increase local production of cereals and oil grains as the most effective and efficient way to build the resilience of African food systems” to respond to war-induced price increases and reduce supply risks in the short and medium term, the lender said.

The war in Ukraine and heavy sanctions imposed on Russia overturned grain shipments at a time when global stocks were already scarce, increasing the risk of a full-blown hunger crisis. Together, the two nations produce more than a quarter of global grain exports, and the United Nations has done so put on guard that already high food costs could rise by another 22% as fighting stifles trade and cuts future production.

African countries face a shortage of at least 30 million tons of food due to the disruptions triggered by the war and there is a 2 million ton fertilizer supply gap on the continent, the AfDB said.

– With the assistance of Yinka Ibukun.

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