By Joyce Ojanji

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved a €63 million loan to Kenya to significantly boost cereals and oil seeds production by over 1.5 million metric tonnes over the next two years.

Kenya and other East Africa countries have been greatly affected by the war in Ukraine and locust swarms and drought. In estimation, food insecurity in the country’s pastoral and marginal areas rose by 48% between August 2021 and February 2022. Due to these overlapping shocks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Kenya’s progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals has been set back.

The loan, which is part of the AfDB’s $ 1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, will support the country’s ministry of Agriculture , livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives (MoALFC) and enable the government to efficiently provide affordable fertilizers and seeds to 650,000 farmers ahead of the crop production seasons to boost productivity. An e-voucher system will be used to ensure that subsidies for inputs are “smart”.

Also, the project, will provide finance guarantees and leverage the private sector to ensure adequate supply of fertilizers to farmers. In addition to boosting staple food availability, the project, which targets smallholder farmers, is expected to particularly benefit women and youth.

On 20th may, the Bank Group’s Board of Directors approved the African Emergency Food Production Facility, to provide agricultural seeds to 20million African farmers. This is to boost production of food by 38million tonnes, primarily wheat, maize, rice, and soya beans that will generate $12 billion over the next two years.