The African Development Bank has launched a fund to free the continent from Russian wheat

Russia’s war with Ukraine, Africa’s largest multilateral lender, has announced $ 1.5-billion in funding to boost grain production to avoid potential food shortages.

The African Development Bank will use the facility to provide climate-smart certified seeds and fertilizers to about 20 million farmers. It will help accelerate the production of 38 million tonnes of food, including wheat, corn, rice and soybeans – the equivalent of a $ 12 billion increase in output in two years, Abidjan-based lender said in a statement sent to WhatsApp on Friday.

“The African Emergency Food Production Facility is designed to increase local production of cereals and oilseeds as the most efficient and effective way to build resilience in Africa’s food system” to respond to war-induced price increases and reduce supply risks. Short to medium term, lender said.

The war in Ukraine and the massive sanctions imposed on Russia have increased grain shipments at a time when global stocks are already tight, increasing the risk of a full-blown hunger crisis. The two countries together account for more than a quarter of global wheat exports, and the United Nations has warned that already high food costs could rise another 22% as fighting disrupts trade and reduces future production.

African countries are facing food shortages of at least 30 million tonnes due to the disruption caused by the war, and the continent has a gap of 2 million tonnes of fertilizer supply, the AFDB said.

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