AfDB to provide funding for farmers in Sahel region

African Development Bank (AfDB)  has designed a comprehensive management programme to invest an additional 151 dollars per hectare aimed at assisting sorghum and millet farmers in improved seed, water harvesting and integrated soil fertility management.

Dr. Dougbedji Fatondji, the Sorghum and Millet Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Leader, said Nigeria and six other African countries would  benefit from the additional funding.

The bank mentioned Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Sudan and Chad as beneficiaries of the planned support programme.

Fatondji said the move had become imperative because the demand for sorghum across all of Sub-Saharan Africa was projected to increase by 9.1 million tonnes by 2025.

Fatondji said millet farming is equally important to human welfare in the Sahel as it is the most important cereal grown in the drier portion of the Semi-arid zone, occupying 15.8 million hectares of rotationally grazed lands.

The TAAT Leader said that the programme was part of the bank’s plan to ensure food security in the Sahel region.

He said the sorghum and millet compact targeted about 40 per cent to 50 per cent of African farmers with technologies relevant to boosting agricultural productivity and self-sufficiency by 2025.

Fatondji said the programme would improve agricultural activities across Africa by raising productivity, mitigating risks, promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains.

He said the acceleration programme had become imperative because the agriculture sector accounted for between 50 per cent and  70 per cent of employment in Africa but produced only 25 per cent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product.

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