AfDB launches TAAT, seeks $40Bn to execute agriculture agenda

Tomato-FarmIn a fresh and bold initiative, the African Development Bank, under the leadership of its President and former Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, is taking Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) to the continental pedestal.

Under the programme, Africa Feeding Africa, or the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), the continent is seeking to raise $40Bn yearly to adopting modern and commercial agriculture, both keys to transforming livelihood of its people, especially the rural poor.

As a step to achieving this, more than 200 research and development partners and experts met at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), mid-week, in a workshop to put proper handle on the TAAT initiative, with the Institute as lead partner among others.

IITA Director-General, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga said, at the opening, TAAT is a follow-up to the AfDB-organised Dakar meeting in October 2015 that culminated in the agreement of 22 countries to partner CGIAR centres to bring the project to reality.

Echoing the resolve to make it work, Dr. Jonathan Wadsworth, Executive Secretary of CGIAR Fund Council said the bottomline is ‘Africa feeding Africa,’ adding that in 10years, those doubting what becomes of this initiative would have found it a dream come true.

However, funding remains a challenge even with 22 countries pledging partnerships in a continent, where few are keeping faith with the 10-per-of-National GDP Maputo Declaration in support of Agriculture.

Dr. Chiji Ojukwu, AfDB’s Director, Agriculture and Agro-industry Department said about $110Bn would be spent of food imports if nothing is done to address food shortfalls.

As it is presently, only about $7billion total investment in agriculture is recorded, with AfDB pulling in a billion dollars on a yearly basis, according to Dr. Jonas Chianu, Principal Agricultural Economist and Task Team Leader for TAAT.

He said financing this programme would go out of the traditional channels like targeting pension funds Diaspora funds and engaging governments to embark on policy reforms, that is not given to easy reversals through frequent somersaults.

For now, the partners have identified eight priority agricultural value chains relating to rice sufficiency, cassava intensification, Sahelian food security, restoring tree plantations, increasing horticulture, wheat and expanded fish farming.

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