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Agricultural transformation tops AfDB’s agenda

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By Olisemeka Obeche

The fact that “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa” is the theme of this year’s annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) here in Ahmedabad is testament to the high premium the premier African development finance institution places on agricultural development as a key pathway out of poverty and hunger in Africa.

Last year, the AfDB launched the High 5s, with ‘Feed Africa’ the second on the list of the Bank’s development primacies. The objective of the agenda is straightforward: to end hunger on the continent by 2025.

Indeed, Africa has the potential to be the world’s bread basket, but not when the continent boasts about 60 of the world’s uncultivated arable land. What is more, Africans account for over 300 million of the 795 million people in the world that do not have enough food to eat.

Sadly too, Africa spends about $35 billion yearly on food imports with the figure expected to rise to $110 billion by 2025, a development the Bank’s ‘Feed Africa’ agenda is designed to address. The AfDB’s strategy is first, to feed the population, and second, turn Africa into a net food exporter.

The annual meetings here provide a good opportunity for India, cradle of the “Green Revolution”, to share its experiences with Africa’s development actors attending the world’s largest Africa-focused gathering.

Expectedly, issues pertaining to mechanized farming, agriculture finance, extension, agri-business and agro-industries are expected to dominate discussions during the five-day event, in the push to transform “agriculture, the future of Africa,” according to Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the AfDB president.

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