BY LEONARD MAGOMBA, 19 MARCH 2012
Dar es Salaam â€” The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved US$63.24 million to enhance productivity and income derived from agricultural activities to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The package will be used for the implementation of a five-year project dubbed “Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa” the AfDB said last week.
The project is a research, science, and technology development initiative aimed at enhancing the productivity and income derived from cassava, maize, rice, and wheat. A statement availed to East African Business Week, in Dar es Salaam said “the four crops are among the six commodities that African heads of states, through the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme, have defined as strategic crops for Africa.”
The project will be co-implemented by three Africa-based Centers which include, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Africa Rice Center, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas. IITA is also the Executing Agency of the project.
The project comes at an appropriate time when food security and nutrition are high on the national agenda of the bank’s regional member countries, as rising food prices push millions of people into extreme hunger and poverty.
Most of the African countries including in the East African region are victims of the rising of food prices in the recent years, a move which an expert believes has pushed up inflation.
This is the first time ever in a single project, a continental coverage of the food security challenges in Africa.
“Its overall goal is to enhance food and nutrition security and contribute to poverty reduction in the Bank’s low-income member countries,” it explained.
Its target beneficiaries are individual farmers and consumers, farmers’ groups including youth and women, policy makers, private sector operators, marketers/traders, transporters, small-scale agricultural machinery manufacturers, and institutions.
The Bank’s low-income members include Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
“The project is expected to contribute towards addressing the shortfall in food supply in these countries and beyond by working across the full value chain of each crop and addressing both food costs and employment creation,” it said.
Copyright Â© 2012 East African Business Week.