By Mustapha Sumaila
The African Development Bank (AfDB), says it is currently investing 25 billion dollars to help make agriculture and agribusiness Africa’s biggest industry.
The statement by the bank’s Communication and External Relations Department on Thursday, said the AfDB’s president, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina made the disclosure at the ongoing Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD) in Japan.
Adesina said the reason was not far-fetched and predicted that the size of food and agriculture would rise to one trillion dollars by 2030.
According to him, a lot of progress has been made in this renewed drive to transform agriculture on the continent.
“The AfDB inaugurated the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to help ramp up technologies to millions of farmers.
“TAAT connects the global agricultural research centres, national agricultural research centres, private sector and agricultural value chains in Africa, in an unprecedented effort to connect the supply and demand side of technologies seamlessly.
“For the first time, accountability was built into the approach, with technology delivery compacts signed by all participating institutions and partners.
“TAAT partners, which include the World Bank, AGRA, IFAD and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have mobilised one billion dollars.
“The results are impressive. Last year alone, the TAAT maize compact helped to deliver water efficient maize across the Southern Africa region that was experiencing severe drought.
“Working with 30 private seed companies, the TAAT maize compact produced more than 27,000 tons of seeds of water efficient maize that was planted by 1.6 million farmers in just one year,’’ he said.
He said Africa must feed itself and it must do more than that while the continent must also turn itself into a global power-house in food production.
According to him, the bank is working to turn agriculture into a business, one that creates wealth, jobs and delivers improved quality of life to millions of farmers.
“A business that transforms the rural economies of Africa from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity.
“While the Bank’s High 5s are to Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Lives of the People of Africa, much of my remarks will be limited to what it will take to Feed Africa,’’ he said. (NAN)