(SLENA, 15th November, 2022).Overview- African women are faced with rising food prices making it extremely difficult to meet their food needs. The advent of COVID 19 made close to 24 million Africans face severe suffering. Coupled with Russia-Ukraine war, further exacerbated the problem threatening Africa food sufficiency. Dr. Adesanya, President of African Development Bank (ADB) announced that the ADB secured $1.5b to help Africa through the Africa Food Emergency.
The launch of Africa disaster food security by ADB. DrAdesanya said, was to raise the profile of African food situation. He said he does not believe that Africa should go anywhere with empty hands begging for food. In announced that there would be a program « Feed Africa » in Dakar on 25-27 January 2023 to look at Food and Agriculture Development compact. He expressed optimism that Africa should be able to feed the world. He pointed out that if Ethiopia and Sudan can be food sufficient, the rest of Africa can do it and save $75 billion used in importing food. « This is the time to do it so let’s do it. » Dr. Adesanya ended.
Rockefeller foundation opined that they believe that the power of renewable energy can help bring irrigation to Agriculture, and organic ways to transform systems. « Love needs to be expressed to create the transformation we want » he ended.
Ministers shared Successful policies implemented to boost Agricultural policies and use of technologies in scaling up Agriculture in their various nations
Delivering a statement on the topic ‘Building Resilience and Sustainable Food Systems in the Agricultural Sector-Sierra Leone, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Mr. Abu Bakarr Karim presented Sierra Leone’s intervention in the following ways.
Karim informed that, when he took over office, His Excellency President Julius Bio ensured that the ministry developed a policy shift transforming from traditional method of farming to mechanization. Presenting facts and figures, Dr. Karim advanced that, less than 15% out 5.3 million hectares of arable land available has been cultivated. He furthered that equipment were purchased and distributed to all agricultural districts to scale up production. Bringing in the private sector to manage it on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model was pivotal. Credit facilities at single digits interest rate was provided to boost the sector to having access financial support. These interventions has helped increase production by 12% in 2020, 24.7% in 2021 from over 500.000 metric tons in 2019 and just over 916,000 metric tons in 2021. He added that this signifies that if more low land is been cultivated, backed by support to private sector, there would be geometric progression in productivity. He drew the audience’ attention to the four ecologies Sierra Leone is banking on, these include: the bolli Lands, riverine area, mangroves and inland valley swamps. But expresses skepticism that without irrigation systems, it wouldl be very challenging for the sector. « Two things from me as a take home here are focus on Green Financing, support irrigation and support the private sector » Minister Karim said.
He also mentioned that under innovation, the ministry has established the e-voucher platforms through which farmers can access their inputs through a subsidy program and inclusive agricultural information and advisory systems through which farmers can access information in their local languages.
Other speakers included Adesina Akinwumi, President of ADB, Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Agricultural Development, AU, OwusuAfriyyieAkoto, Min. Of Agric. of Ghana, Alie NgouilleNdiaye, Min. of Agric. of Senegal, Anne BeatheTvinnereim, Min. of International Development, Norway.