The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Thursday said it planned to improve the agricultural sector in Africa, create jobs and feed Africa by empowering its small scale farmers and youths.
A statement obtained from the bank’s Website quoted its Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, Mr Chiji Ojukwu, as saying that agriculture remained a major source of income in Africa.
The statement said agriculture’s untapped potential had resulted in persistent poverty and deteriorating food security in the African continent.
It said the AfDB, in collaboration with some partners, had come up with seven enablers that would address the various challenges hindering the growth of agriculture in Africa.
“The AfDB, in collaboration with partners, will contribute to orchestrate, architect, scale and replicate transformation through seven enablers,” the statement quoted Chukwu as saying.
According to the statement, some of the strategies mapped out are increasing productivity, increasing the realised value from increased production and increased investment in hard and soft infrastructure.
It added that other enablers hinged on financing expanded agriculture, improving the agribusiness environment, and increasing inclusivity, sustainability, nutrition and coordination.
The statement stressed that to achieve the “Feed Africa” goal of the bank’s high five development priorities, there was need for substantial investment and results in substantial revenues.
It disclosed that 315 billion dollars to 400 billion dollars (N62.06 trillion to N78.80 trillion) would be required over the next decade or 32 billion dollars to 40 billion dollars (N6.30 trillion to N7.88 trillion) annually to transform the agricultural sector in Africa.
“The AfDB and public sector partners will crowd in private and institutional funding by establishing enabling environments for private investments.
“They will employ innovative de-risking tools and blending finance,” the statement quoted the AfDB boss as saying.
The statement also quoted the AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, as saying that Africa needed to look at agriculture in different perceptives if the continent was to actualise its dream of diversification.
It said agriculture had the potential to stabilise economies and should be looked at as a business.
“We can’t keep sitting on potential. We need to change our mindset, agriculture is a business. Why are people in agriculture poor?
“We must change this, agriculture is a business and a source of creating wealth and employment,” the statement quoted the AfDB President as saying.
It said Adesina observed that there was a need to revisit the curricula in institutions of tertiary education, if they were out-dated and irrelevant to the modern times.
“When we talk about research, let us talk about research that has impact and not academic benefits.
“We need to change those curriculums taught in the ’50s as they are not applicable to recent times. People don’t eat paper [academic qualifications], they eat food,” the statement quoted Adeshina as saying