To lift one billion people worldwide out of hunger, the African Development Bank is seeking partnerships with global partners. The Bank said it was leading the way by investing $24 billion in African agriculture over the next ten years.
At an agricultural conference at Purdue University in Indianapolis, the Bank’s President, Akinwumi Adesina said “we are not winning the war against hunger”. He noted that it’s easy to get carried away by the statistics showing a decline in global population living on less than two dollars. However, citing the latest World Food Security and Nutrition data, Akinwumi said in reality, the number of hungry people in the world had increased from 777 million in 2015 to 816 million in 2016.
Akinwumi revealed that simple and technical scientific methods were already making a difference to farm yields and income in Africa. He said “the release of water efficient maize varieties now allows farmers to harvest good yields in the face of moderate drought”.
The Bank President also added that “today, rice varieties exist that can give yields of 8 tonnes per hectare. Cassava varieties exist with yields of up to 80 tonnes per hectare. Heat tolerant and disease resistant livestock and technologies for ramping up aquaculture exist”.
According to Akinwumi, there is the urgent need for deployment of supportive policies to ensure technologies are passed down to millions of farmers. He said “all Africa needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right polices and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers and assure lower food prices for consumers”.