A €121 million loan is making its way towards Senegal, as the African Development Bank (AfDB) has decided to assist food production in the country. This loan will assist up to 850 000 small-scale farmers, with approximately 35% of these being female small-scale farmers.
“Senegal’s dependence on the outside world for basic commodities and foodstuffs is a real bottleneck and poses a threat to the country’s food sovereignty, which has been sharpened by the war in Ukraine,” said Mohamed Chérif, the Bank’s Country Manager for Senegal.
“This operation is intended to mitigate exogenous financial, economic, social and climate shocks and to maintain the upward trend in cereal production seen in recent years, especially by focusing efforts on the availability of key inputs including seeds and fertilisers to producers,” he added.
This loan is the first to be authorised under the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, an effort of the AfDB to prevent a potential food crisis made worse by the conflict in Ukraine. A total of 20 million farmers in Africa will get agricultural seeds thanks to the facility, which was approved by the Board of Directors of the Bank Group on 20 May. The objective is to generate an additional 38 million tons of food, mostly wheat, maize, rice, and soybeans, worth $12 billion over the next two years.
Three major components
The Emergency Food Production Programme consists of three parts: promoting governance and public policy execution in the agricultural sector; expanding farmers’ access to fertilisers; and improving access to certified seeds and advisory help.
The program will assist in supplying farmers with 15 000 tonnes of seed potatoes, 7 000 tonnes of grain seeds, and 3 000 tonnes of cowpea seeds under the first component. Pre-basic seeds will also be made available thanks to a cooperative arrangement between the Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment. This will make it possible for at least 850 seed multipliers – 25% of whom are women – to get basic seeds. To produce around 600 000 tonnes of grains (rice, maize, and millet), 120 000 tonnes of cowpea, and 150 000 tonnes of potatoes, nearly 350 000 more hectares will be planted.
The project’s second element will assist in the purchase of 118 000 extra tonnes of fertiliser in 2022 and 2023. The implementation of a diagnostic study to revamp the fertiliser distribution system and enhance the agricultural input subsidy program will also be supported by this component. Twenty percent of recipients of fertiliser will be the focus of a trial project to automate inputs.
The evaluation and updating of the nation’s Agro-Sylvo Pastoral Policy Law (2004-2025), the Letter of Agricultural Development Sector Policy (LPSDA 2019-2023), the validation of the Agricultural Programme for Food Sovereignty and Sustainability (2021-2025), and the creation of a national index/climate insurance programme are all included in the third component.