Akinwumi Adesina, president of AfDB, said, “Technologies to achieve Africa’s green revolution exist, but are mostly just sitting on the shelves. The challenge is a lack of supportive policies to ensure that they are scaled up to reach millions of farmers.”
Giving the example of Nigeria, Adesina said that during his tenure as the minister of agriculture, Nigeria saw a revolution in rice production within three years.
“All it took was sheer political will, supported by science, technology and pragmatic policies, just like in the case of rice, the same can be said of a myriad of technologies, including high-yielding water efficient maize, high-yielding cassava varieties, animal and fisheries technologies,” Adesina added.
AfDB has been funded worth US$1bn by World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to prepare the technologies across the continent under a new initiative called Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).
TAAT is taking important steps to bring down some of the barriers preventing farmers from accessing latest seed varieties and technologies to improve their productivity.
Adesina recommended African universities to adapt their curriculum to enable technology-driven farmers and to focus on agri-business entrepreneurship for the youth by emphasising the need to rise beyond theories to application.
“There is no reason why Africa should be spending US$35bn a year importing food. All it needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right policies and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers and assure lower food prices for consumers,” Adesnia addressed.
AfDB has started investing in the development of processing zones in countries like Ethiopia, Togo, Democrati Republic of Congo and Mozambique. The plan is to reach 15 countries within few years.