President Buhari has applauded the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food plan developed by the African Development Bank, AfDB, which is awaiting ratification by its board.
President Buhari said this when he received the AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina at the State House in Abuja.
According to the President, his administration is very much aware of the need for food security, and the need to encourage local farmers.
The president appreciated Adesina “for knowing our weaknesses and our strengths, and for planning and working ahead”.
He added that: “We are very much aware of the need for food security, and to encourage our local farmers, that was why we closed our borders for about two years to curb smuggling. We made some progress.”
Briefing President Buhari on steps being taken by the AfDB to avert food crisis in Africa, Adesina said the Russia-Ukraine war would create global problems and particularly for Africa, which imports a huge percentage of its food from the two countries.
He said: “Already, the price of wheat has gone up about 60%. Maize and other grains will also be affected. There may be fertilizer crisis, as there would be about 2 million metric tonnes deficit. And that will affect food production by about 20%. Africa will lose $11 billion worth of food, and coming shortly after COVID-19, that would be rather serious.”
To prepare against the evil day, he said the AfDB had developed a $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Plan, which is now before the bank’s board for approval.
“We were not ready for COVID-19, but we are now planning to avert food crisis on the continent. There is plan to help farmers cultivate wheat, maize, rice, sorghum and soybeans. It will mitigate the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war,” he said.
Talking specifically of Nigeria, the former Minister of Agriculture, said in the wet season of 2022, at least five million smallholder farmers would be helped to cultivate one million hectares of maize, one million hectares of rice and 250,000 hectares of sorghum and soybeans, respectively.
“In total, our support will help Nigeria to produce 9.5 million metric tonnes of food,” Adesina said.
He listed states to benefit from the assistance to include Kano, Ogun, Oyo, Kaduna, Imo, Cross River and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to AfDB boss, “Mr President, you have a passion for agriculture. We are behind you strongly, and we want to ensure Nigeria won’t feel the impact of the food crisis.”