Major development partners, firms and African leaders have pledged to provide more than $60 billion in an effort to transform Africa's agriculture from subsistence farming to agribusiness in the next ten years.
This was announced Wednesday evening at the 6th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) held in Gigiri, Nairobi.
“Africa must diversify agriculture not as way of life but as a business. It is about adding value and modernising agriculture. Ending extreme poverty means investing on agriculture. End malnutrition...turn the continent from a net food importer to a net food exporter,” said African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina.
“Africa should be at the top of agro-value chain. Now is the time to come to the aid of our long-suffering farmers and give them the modern agriculture technologies,” he added, indicating that the money allocated is a 400 per cent increase over previous commitments to help drive agricultural transformation in Africa.
Kenya pledges $200 million. President Uhuru Kenyatta also announced that Kenya is looking to provide $200 million funding in the coming five years while the KCB Group also expressed its plan to avail $350 million in loans for agriculture.
The funds are expected to empower more than 150,000 Kenyan farmers to access modern farming technologies and crop insurance.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is one of the development partners supporting the initiative to modernise farming in Africa, has also promised to extend its support and plans to commit $5 billion in the next five years. The Foundation expressed interest in expanding its crop and livestock research programmes aimed at helping the region's farmers farmers.
Others who made pledges include Econet Wireless chairman Strive Masiyiwa with $35 billion, the World Food Program ($120 million) and OCP Africa ($30 million).
“Agriculture can indeed transform this continent. We really appreciate the contribution from our partners. This transformation never happens if we did not take the coming ten years seriously like we take the last ten years,” said the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) president Agnes Kalibata. AGRA, part of whose mandate is to support local farmers to transform the continent’s agricultural practices, organised the forum in Nairobi.
The collective pledges at the meeting are believed to represent the largest package of financial commitments to Africa's agricultural sector to date.