Emergency Food Production Programme Gets $5.12 Million Funding from African Development Bank Group

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved financing for the Emergency Food Production Programme in Liberia. This makes it possible for the government to help farmers make their farms more resistant to climate change and lessen the effects of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The funding consists of a $2.28 million grant and a $2.84 million loan from the Bank Group's Transition Support Facility.

Agriculture accounts for a sizable portion of the Liberian economy. It accounts for around 26% of the GDP. Rubber, rice, cassava, bananas, and palm oil are the country's main crops, with cassava and rice serving as staple foods.

However, overall agricultural productivity is low. This is because there isn't enough basic infrastructure, like farm equipment and roads, to connect farms to markets. There is also a lack of fertiliser and pesticide application, as well as insufficient food storage capacity. The country's civil war between 1989 and 2003 and the Ebola outbreak in 2014–2015 exacerbated the situation.

Food insecurity affects over half of Liberia's population, and childhood malnutrition persists. Currently, 35% of children under the age of five are stunted, and 15% are underweight.

The Liberian food production initiative is funded by the African Development Bank's African Emergency Food Production Facility (AEFPF). This facility is intended to boost climate-resilient food production for African farmers in the aftermath of global shocks such as the Ukraine war and rising fuel and fertiliser prices.

Twenty million small farmers in Africa would get certified seeds from the African Emergency Food Production Facility. It will improve access to agricultural fertilisers, allowing them to produce 38 million tonnes of food rapidly—a $12 billion increase in food production in just two years.

The Liberia initiative, which will run from 2022 to 2024, will allow the government to give direct smart subsidies to farmers in need. These subsidies will encourage private sector investment in the inputs market without changing the market. The funding will also allow the government to make enhanced seeds and fertilisers more accessible to farmers.

“We welcome this timely and highly awaited approval, which will improve food and nutrition security in Liberia and the regulatory environment for climate-smart agriculture,” said the African Development Bank's country manager for Liberia, Benedict Kanu. "Healthy Liberians are probably the best thing the country can have, so addressing food insecurity to meet the calorie and nutrition needs of Liberians and protect their human development is probably the most important thing to do right now."

The African Emergency Food Production Facility has already benefited 26 countries in Africa with 26 programmes worth $1.257 billion.

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Source: ADB Group

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