While Africa’s food crisis has been building for some time, the conflict in Ukraine has exposed the continent’s dependence on imports. The African Development Bank and its partners have set out to raise $1 billion to increase the production of wheat in Africa.
Wheat imports account for about 90% of Africa’s $4 billion trade with Russia and nearly half of the $4.5 billion trade with Ukraine
The Bank Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme the continent is already achieving its huge potential in agriculture by using high-impact technology to increase production. The goal is for 40 million farmers to increase their harvests from heat-tolerant varieties, rice, soybeans, and other crops, in order to feed around 200 million people.
These farmers will depend on agritech and other new techniques to improve their resilience to the effects of climate change. Farmers must produce more food with fewer resources to feed an increasingly hungry continent. They also need to be able and willing to adapt to changing weather patterns, flooding, droughts, pathogen spread, and loss of biodiversity.
The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme was launched in 2021 to reverse the continent’s vulnerability to climate change, the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and other development partners are already working to bring climate-resilient techniques to small-scale producers who grow most of Africa’s food.
GCA estimates that climate-proofing African farmers will save you less than one-tenth as much damage from climate disasters.
Other initiatives such as the BOLD Project – run by the Crop Trust and funded by Norway and the European Union – provide financial and technical support for genebanks in Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana to reach international standards of operation, ensuring collections are safe and available over the long term.
Africa must harness climate-resilient options as quickly as possible to avoid a devastating food shortage. These investments in climate adaptation for agriculture are the smartest, most cost-efficient way to guarantee the continent’s food security.