After more than a month of clashes between Russian military troops and Ukrainian troops, the threats of famine in the world are becoming more and more persistent. Faced with this announced food shortage, Africa is implementing a response plan.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has decided to raise nearly a billion dollars in the coming days. This is with the aim of rapidly expanding agrarian areas in Africa and offsetting the losses imposed by the drop in Ukrainian harvests. The main target sector is wheat harvesting. Ukraine being the main supplier of wheat in Africa, the war currently raging in the country has considerably reduced the import of this commodity in several African countries. This billion dollars will then be used to boost wheat production on the continent.
Indeed, the experts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have explained that the conflict which is currently raging in Ukraine, beyond the material and human losses, will cause, if it continues, an enormous food shortage throughout the world and in particular in Africa with the added bonus of an increase in the prices of basic necessities. Ukraine and Russia account for more than a third of world wheat production. 45 out of 54 African countries import a third of their wheat from these two countries and 18 countries import more than 50% of Russian and Ukrainian wheat. Among these countries, we have Burkina Faso, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan to name but a few.
The effects of this war are already being felt in Africa. In several countries, wheat and flour products are on the rise. This is particularly the case in Cameroon where the price of bread has risen along with the price of a bag of flour. Reacting to this situation, the Nigerian Akinwumu Adesina, President-in-Office of the AfDB, told AFP that: “If there is a time when we really need to drastically increase food production in Africa, for its food security and to mitigate the impact of this food crisis resulting from this war, it is now.” The process of modernizing agriculture on the continent is underway.
The funds raised by the African financial institution will benefit about 40 million African farmers. It will be a question for the latter of stimulating the production of wheat, soybeans, rice and many other crops. The objective sought here is to be able to feed more than 200 million people across the continent. For the boss of the AfDB, farmers will have to be able to use new agricultural technologies that can withstand the climate and produce a variety of heat-resistant wheat. By way of illustration, Akinwumu Adesina cites Ethiopia, which has succeeded in increasing its wheat production and is on the royal road to food self-sufficiency within 3 years. The country is already dreaming of exporting its wheat to Egypt, which is currently the largest importer of cereals in the world.