9 September 2016. Nairobi. African farmers will benefit from commitments of more than $30 billion that have been made, by African leaders, development banks, the private sector and international donors, at the African Green Revolution Forum. The pledged money is intended to transform agriculture on the continent over the next decade – and it is the largest package of financial commitments to Africa’s agriculture sector to date.
- The African Development Bank (AfDB) would invest $24 billion in African farming over the next ten years, a 400 percent increase over its previous commitments. Part of the bank’s funding will support an international programme to get modern agricultural technologies to millions of small-scale farmers in Africa. The bank will also help them access commercial loans.
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to contribute at least $5 billion to African development over the next five years, of which around a fifth will be used to expand crop and livestock research, strengthen data, and improve systems to deliver better tools, information and innovations to farmers.
- In the next six years, the continent will also benefit from $3 billion pledged by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in keeping with its policy of allocating at least half of its annual $1.1 billion spending to Africa. Most of its investments are targeted at creating jobs in farming and food production, particularly for youth and women.
- A further $180 million was pledged by the Rockefeller Foundation, including $130 million for AGRA’s Yieldwise initiative to strengthen crop storage, handling and processing capabilities to reduce significant post-harvest losses on African farms due spoilage or pests.
- Fertilizer firm OCP Africa will invest $150 million over the next five years to support local fertilizer distribution, storage and blending, while Kenya Commercial Bank Group will channel $350 million into business opportunities that could reach some 2 million small-scale farmers.
- The World Food Programme, meanwhile, promised to purchase at least $120 million each year in agricultural products from smallholder farmers through a partnership called the Patient Procurement Platform, which will expand into Kenya and three other countries next year.
“This is a multi-disciplinary plan, it has to have everybody moving together, at the same time, and with equal measures. Now, this is something we have never seen before. We’ve seen sparks, we’ve seen success stories… but we need to see more success, more goodwill, and we need to stop the ‘bla-bla’ and do the ‘do-do’. And President Kagame, in the opening ceremony could not have said it better, ‘We have said all that needs to be said, now we’re supposed to do what needs to be done.'” Yemi Akinbamijo, who heads the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).